more life: on memories

I thought of the idea for this article at work, at 7am, when a song came on about summer memories. Granted I was overtired and over-caffeinated, it suddenly came over me that I must remind everyone to live in the moment this summer and appreciate the present.

Now, if you imagined the poster child for living in the moment and not worrying about the future, it would be the exact opposite of me and how I live my life. When I wake up to turn over in the night, I automatically use those small moments of consciousness to plan my schedule for the day ahead. When I told my roommate I was writing this, she said, “Ellen, I don’t think I have ever witnessed you living in the moment.” And she’s not really wrong.

We are constantly bombarded with inspirational quotes, little “tokens of wisdom," on social media, being told to us by friends when we have a problem, and most often on consumer items that have nothing to do with the actual quote at hand. (My personal favorite are signs that say “collect memories, not things," when the signs themselves are things.) I see those messages I roll my eyes and think “I don’t have time, I’m going to be late, why do people think this is going to sell things, did these great people know where their words were going to be put?” The continuous spam of words to live by is devaluing the very words themselves and taking away their power. Making a decision to live in the moment is nothing anyone can be forced into by signage, posters, Instagram pictures, or anything else. It’s a practice that you must go into consciously, purposefully, and with the power to allow yourself the time to make mistakes.

Living in the now is something a lot of people struggle with, especially when you’ve got a lot on your plate and tend to worry. About two years ago, I heard the soundtrack and specifically the song More Life from the musical Now.Here.This. And I cried. And I listened to the whole album, and I cried again. Every time I listen again, I am reminded of how often I think like the people in that song. Every day stuck in my own head, wondering and waiting when something will finally allow me to have a good time, as if I am waiting for the world to signal me that it’s okay to be happy for a moment. “I wonder if I will find a time when I live with a mind that is free of congestion. So many hours are spent wanting something and all that it does is just flood me with questions, like where will I find it? What will it be like? And when is it coming?”

I don’t have the answers to any of those questions, and I most likely never will. It’s everywhere and always and it’s learning to stop asking those questions.

The best memories I have from past summers are moments where I could not think of anything else. It’s deciding to run into a rainstorm, letting the music take over, saying yes to ice cream at 3am.

I hate generic quotes, articles telling me how to specifically live my life with no proof or heart involved, and I hate not knowing what is going to happen everyday, at exactly what time. But I am trying, I am here, and I am urging you to look for those times this summer, recognize when you can think of nothing but the current, and be thankful. ✉

article by: ellen grace

visual by: ellen grace



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