Slow down and smell the roses. Take in the scenery. Treasure the kisses, cherish the hugs. LIVE every single day and relish in the things that make you happy. Enjoy the small things because one day you'll realise they are the big things.
There's always inspirational quotes such as these doing the rounds, and when you read them you think, "Yeah! So true!". When people use them in conversation you wholeheartedly agree, nodding enthusiastically and saying, "yes! You're so right!"
But it can actually be easier said than done.
Life's been chaotic this year already. This last month has been actually slightly insane and I'm kind of waiting for the ride to stop, or at least slow down.
Not all of it has been negative per se, but all of it quite consuming and emotionally taxing. A new school for the girls; best friends moving cities; being given six weeks to find a new house while rent prices in Auckland are exorbitant; packing the old house and moving to the new one; dealing with Olive's anxiety issues; the passing of Jaxons friend - just to mention a few. Amid all of these big things going on, I've started flaring again and fighting off sinus infections, chronic headaches and tooth ache to boot.
When you are on a never ending reel of emotional overload it can be too easy to overlook those small things that make life what it is and give you purpose to keep on keeping on.
Today I attended the funeral of the very much loved Dad of one of our best friends. After a long and difficult battle with cancer, he spent his final days at home surrounded by his beloved family. Though with a death such as this and with Aiden's, there is the blessing of being able to say goodbye, that doesn't actually make it any easier after that person is gone. There are still all the Firsts that occur - First family gathering, First birthday, First Christmas, First family holiday - all without the precious person who would've otherwise been there. That's hard. So fucking hard. No matter how you sugar coat it, hearts are cracked and broken, minds are dominated by thoughts and memories and wishes.
I only met J a handful of times but the message today from his family rang loud and true. The love for him was evident in the tear stricken faces of his family, his kids and his grandkids, and in the outpouring of sentimental stories and anecdotes told. I felt honoured to hear about those small snippets of a life well lived, and well fought for, by a courageous man held in such high regard by my best friends.
Those stories, songs, laughs and memories at the end of someone's life are what we hold so dear, so tightly, for years to come. Often they make their way through generations to come with recounts of Grandma's apple pie, Uncle's summer escapade or the time Dad taught us to mow the lawns and so on.
A person's legacy lives on in those left behind. It is easy to think that a legacy has to be something of public recognition or monetary value. But in truth, a person's legacy is that of values and strength. It is all of those things we can so easily forget to stop and enjoy to the fullest. It is all those times when you make someone feel good, and loved, and strong. It is all those times when someone put you before them and helped you in need. When they boosted you up and made you see your worth. It is all those laughs, those tears, those cares, those truths. Ultimately, a legacy is love. And these are the things that matter. As soon as that person is gone, no amount of money or things can replace them. People place values and love over material things. But we often forget to do this in life.
So this is just as much a reminder for me as it is for you - Stop. Slow down and smell the roses. Take in the scenery. Treasure the kisses, cherish the hugs. LIVE every single day and relish in the things that make you happy. Enjoy the small things because one day you'll realise they ARE the big things.