Dave and I have had 17 different addresses in our 41 years of marriage. Granted, 41 years is a long time, but 17 moves is a lot of moves, too. 5 states, much criss-crossing, many miles driven, boxes loaded, possessions weeded out, change of address cards mailed.
My favorite place? Each home has significant events to remember. Our first home, a two-room apartment for $40/month with a bathroom shared with the 80+ year old home owner. Our largest home, a two-story with basement Midwestern farmhouse that we worked on constantly for the six years we lived there. The biggest “yard” was 55 acres, including creeks and woods and a basketball court and a zipline and paintball course (as well as other team-building ropes course events). Currently, a small bungalow that is cozy and adequate with a verdant backyard and great neighbors.
While we lived in each home, every day seemed crucial, important, all-consuming. Yet, when we made our list, it was hard to remember a few of the places we lived briefly. Some memories are strong (bringing our newborns home, certain neighbors, snow days, special family events, visitors, remodeling projects) while others are, simply put, gone.
Every moment counts.
I believe that.
Yet, we really have no control over what we remember or don’t remember. I keep a journal, so I can go back and document happenings and dates and my own emotions. But there is much of (most of) my life that is tucked away so deeply in my memory that it will never be accessed.
There are, however, lasting and crucial ways that our decisions and moments count. Even if we don’t readily remember the details. As we live in this third-third, we have results of our past decisions and moments lived, even ones we don’t remember. Some positive ones are:
- We are fit and active. A life style of running (Dave) and fitness (Debbie) allows us now to walk downtown for dinner, attend classes together at the YMCA, travel comfortably in the middle seat, if necessary, and wear the same clothes for 20 years (Dave, and he thinks this is good).
- We eat well. Bonding initially over low sugar, high fiber, brewer’s yeast and garden-grown veggies, we continue to explore nutrition as a “hobby,” all these years later. I have had enough medical issues to let me know that what I eat is not a guarantee of perfect health, but also to make me aware that the fuel I put in my body matters so I am satisfied to “eat to live.”
- We love an adventure. Whether moving to a new home or trying a new restaurant or exploring new places on the globe, we have learned that settling in and getting comfortable should be a temporary respite, not a life-style for us.
- We have no debt. Buying what we could afford has been our way. Saving for what we don’t expect has been a tremendous help in the few times it was needed. Sharing generously of time and money and space has proved to be the best investment.
- We sleep well with a clear conscious. We have NOT been perfect. We have erred colossally. But we have stuck together. We have asked for forgiveness and we have forgiven. We have honored our parents. We have loved our kids. We have held tenaciously to what we committed to from Day One.
The moments aren’t always remembered. But they matter… how we live today will be how we live later. And Later becomes Today.