Live for the moments that you can’t put into words.

This quote caught my eye while walking from my table to the restroom during a Sunday brunch in Harlem with my mom. Immediately, I remembered the moments that only my body could express-my first sip of coffee in the morning, getting into graduate school, the moment that my grandmother passed away. Each of these moments did not have a verbal sentence to follow, but a physical response of hope, relief, and sadness, whether it was seen by others or not. 

Moments like these can be easily accessed just by our everyday movements. For example, walking down the street and someone brushes past you can trigger a memory of getting into a serious fight with someone you love or really hate. While eating brunch I couldn’t help but think of how moments like these are so fleeting, especially when you are constantly living in the future. As a millennial, I acknowledge that I have tunnel vision and am career-driven. Because of this I recognize that I never give myself time to embrace special moments that occur in the present. But how does someone that is so driven and focused about where their life is going and where they want it to go stop and embrace these moments? Sometimes I think others have to remind you, other times your body forces you. 

I am grateful to work with the elderly once a week where I am constantly hearing about good and bad memories and how important it is to have both in order to really appreciate life. Each memory they share never starts with words, but the memory starts from the body’s recollection. For example, before one of my clients shared their memory of marrying 3 wives, he gave an enormous sigh of exhaustion. The first wife he spoke about initially caused him to put his hand on his forehead. From there he explained the hardships he had gone through with her always wanting money. The second caused him to put his hand on his neck. Beginning to self-soothe through a massage, he spoke about the stress of believing that she was being unfaithful and it coming to light after 5 years. Finally, as he began talking about his 3rd wife, his hands made his way to his heart. As he rubbed his chest gently, he expressed how he knew this love was real for the both of them. He shared their memories, good and bad, while slowly rubbing his chest, and suddenly stopping when he shared that she had passed away. I remember taking his hand and sitting in silence as I saw tears weld up in his eyes. Sometimes these moments can be too strong for just one person to hold on to. 

As I was finishing up my mimosa from brunch, going in and out of the conversation with my mom, thinking about such moments, I questioned if this brunch with my mom is a moment of my own that I am not giving myself time to live in. I immediately stopped thinking and forced myself to be in the present with my mom. We talked about my upcoming work projects and she talked about how she always wanted to travel to Aruba. Usually her sharing these wishes cause me to think about ways I could support her in them, but I stopped myself and just listened to her. While she spoke, I felt a sensation in my chest that caused me to sit up and smile. That moment of being lucky enough to have brunch with my mother as she sits across from me relaxing, smiling, and sharing her dreams of travel, for some reason, made me realize that this was a moment that could not be put into words.