The Conversation Which Has Not Left My Mind.
I recently found myself parked on a bench with a good friend. After a few moments an elderly lady passing by caught my attention. Moving at a labored pace, it looked as if she needed a rest. Leaving my friend for a brief moment, I went over to ask this lady if she would like to have a rest on the park bench where I was sitting. She quickly gave me a look of disgust, paired with a mental beam of take off you punk (after all I was long-boarding), she let me know that she was quite alright standing. However, after we started having casual conversation it quickly became evident she had a message that had to be passed along.
The once shaky tone of her voice and posture both became rather strong as she delivered her message: “If there has been something on your mind lately, that perhaps you are unsure of, just do it. Regardless of money or time, if you feel strongly about something now, do not wait. Time is no-one’s friend.” After a brief back and forth discussion, the message can best be summed up in tone and delivery as: “Cut the BS, go out there and chase what you desire.” We then found ourselves heading into the next and much deeper point in our conversation.
Thinking that this was perhaps being the deepest level of meaning I had reached on a park bench (although now thinking of it, park benches have been and always will be, an institution for deep conversation and existential journeys), we had now come to a fork in the road that was going to reveal more of the story. I asked the question: “What has been the most memorable moment in your life?” This is a question I routinely ask others to gain a better understanding of who they are and what they value in life. It turns out she had grown up in Germany during the war and was sent to northern Siberia for numerous years. We did not get into the nitty-gritty details, but I can only assume that she was in a labour camp. The years spent in Siberia had wreaked havoc on her body, and the effects of malnutrition in her early years were still evident today. After hearing a few stories of what her life was once like, we had now arrived at the answer to my question. The most memorable moment in her life came shortly after being released from Siberia, when an item on the ground caught her eye, bringing tears to her eyes. Rekindling a sense of hope that had all but faded. This item was a shiny red apple. She had not known that items like this still existed in the world.
“What once seemed to be such a big deal, now seems quite small in the big picture of life.” - Ab Simpson (my great uncle)
This statement has stuck with me for years. My uncle was an incredibly strong man who was quite often described as bull-headed. I interpreted this statement to be a message to his younger self. Urging himself to let minor disturbances pass, and to make decisions with the bigger picture of our lives in mind, not the emotionally super-charged now.
Cutting the BS
As our conversation came to a close, I asked the lady what her name was, and immediately another infamous take a hike punk look came out, alongside the words: “It really doesn’t matter.” However, since we had now spent some time trading stories, she was no willing to further explain this reasoning. Names at this time in her life were so very simple, almost meaningless, compared to the greater topics at hand: experience and adventure. It is interesting how as time goes on all of the “fluff” in life seems to disappear.
Life can be an adventure every single day, as long as we view it in that light. Instead of going from our houses (big boxes), to our cars (little boxes), and to work (biggest boxes) to sit in our offices and cubicles (smallest boxes), we have the opportunity to get outside and explore. Let's do those small things we have always wanted to do. Start with something as simple as venturing off in a different direction at noon. Let's take the time to pause during our day; forget about all the things we do not have, and appreciate those things in life we already do have.
I want to leave you with this thought: What is your most memorable moment in life? What moments have been on your mind that you have a deep down desire to create?
- Calvin Simpson (HAPPFUL founder)