As parents, we see our kids all the time – but don’t really see them at all. It’s the woods for the trees phenomenon. Or, if you like, being too close to your product to clearly articulate its value to the audience. They’re our children. Human beings growing at the fastest rate of their lives. And we don’t see it.

Earlier tonight my wife brought up a cute thing that one of our daughters used to do when she was young. I vaguely remembered, but didn’t recall which daughter did the cute thing. I was a little disappointed, but, at 47 I’ve learned to accept that you can only remember so much. And it’s not because I’m old – it’s because our brains have only so much capacity. Older, less significant memories, and even sometimes significant ones, get pushed to the back of the mind in place of newer experiences. The longer you live, the more memories you accumulate, the more stuff gets pushed to the back of the room – where very little light gets in.

As a result, I spend a good bit of time walking through life trying to figure out which moments are ones that will stick. It’s hard to predict. I don’t even know how well I’ve fared at this exercise over the years. Obviously, based on that cute thing our daughter used to do, not too well. But what it does do is forces me to slow things down. To make an effort to be in any given moment. Life moves pretty fast as we fly through space on this rock pretending that what we do with our time matters – and time will flat out pass you by if you blink.

April 2011, five months after our dog Tucker died, a routine midnight tuck-in resulted in this memory for me.

I would ask you to take time out to be in more moments, but it’s not my job to tell you what to do. All I can say is that since I started doing this, I’m a helluva lot more grateful for more things. Simple things. Things that I used to take for granted. And injecting more gratitude into my life has turned out to be, in itself, a very good thing.

Life is an hourglass. Every moment a grain of sand.


Jim Mitchem

The Fine Line Between Politics and Comedy

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.

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