There is a moment just before I fall asleep when I conjure up the most powerful prose I can ever imagine. Exquisite paragraphs that paint a powerful picture that would make Picasso proud and yet, these sentences have never graced the printed page. They exist at the moment my conscious and subconscious mind intersect and tantalize me with influential images and expressions that I am unable to replicate when I arise to write them down.
I have heard a lot about “living in the moment” on television, radio and in the newspapers lately and I am thoroughly perplexed at the vacuous meaning of the statement “to live in the moment.” I took a breath. That was a moment. I took another breath. There was another moment. And so on and so on. I live in the moment every minute of every day. And even if I try to escape the moment, I am living the escapism which is in fact a moment unto itself.
I believe what these gurus are trying to tell me is “that I must understand the importance of the quintessential moments of my life.” And that is a statement I completely agree with. Of course, that isn’t a sentence one can easily sell in a ten second sound bite. It isn’t flashy. It doesn’t have pizzazz and it isn’t chic. But worst of all, it is filled with big words that make being in touch with my life sound boring and dreadfully tedious. So I guess I am left with being told “to live in the moment.”
There have been many times in my life I have “had to take a moment” or “needed a moment” to step back and reflect on what is about to happen. I am well aware of the big occasions; weddings, milestones, graduations, anniversaries, promotions, and many other personally rewarding accomplishments. These moments in my life are self explanatory. But lately, though, I have been intrigued with those moments that inspire great achievements in my life or lead to personal failures on which I can learn and move forward. That is where the true meaning of “living in the moment” has taken on relevance for me.
Five years ago on an ordinary Friday night, I was looking for something to do to occupy my time. Stephanie and the kids were asleep and my friends were busy. I was bored, so I decided I would finally write that letter of recommendation for a friend who was applying to graduate school. I turned on my computer, played around on the internet for a while, checked some email and then I decided to check the television listings for something entertaining. Finally, I opened up a new Microsoft word file and started working. Ninety minutes later, I had written the rough draft of the first article I had written in over ten years.
I cannot tell you why I didn’t write the recommendation. I cannot tell you why my fingers furiously danced along the keyboard to tell a story that inevitably led to another. Six months later, I shared my writing with Stephanie and a couple of friends and I was overwhelmed by their exuberant responses to my essays. So I kept at it and two and a half years later, Irishman For Hire was born.
Had Stephanie been awake, or my friends been able to go see a movie, or if something on television had caught my eye for just a moment, an entire portion of my life might have been irrevocably changed forever. And for the life of me, I do not know what happened that prompted me to write that article. I felt a stirring in the pit of my stomach that motivated me to write, so I wrote. And I am glad that I did.
It was a single, solitary moment that changed my life. The significance of the decision to write that piece cannot be measured because the true impact of that evening will be played out over the next ten, fifteen, and even twenty years. But the intrinsic value in my decision to write that initial article lies in the history of the pages that have been recorded since I typed that first word. I have lived in the moment ever since and I have explored the meaning of those moments as I have delved into my life in order to find the proper context for each memory. Sometimes there is a message and sometimes there is nothing but a simple story. But in my favorite pieces, there is nothing more than a humorous snapshot of a place and time when a typical mundane moment had a profound effect on me as a person.