Yesterday I delivered a talk at the TEDx Zurich Women’s conference in Zurich, Switzerland. It was a great honor to be chosen and an even greater pleasure to deliver a talk I had worked on so diligently.
Looking back, I can’t even begin to count the hours I spent writing it or the number of times I practiced it. And I don’t regret a single moment of it. When it came time to give the speech, I felt prepared, and I believe I lived up to the intention and effort I set forth.
But of all the wonderful things I experienced yesterday, one realization stuck with me. Even though the event was wonderful, the speech itself only lasted for 16 mins. After 3+ months of work, my grand event was really just a 16-minute sliver of my life.
It got me thinking about how often this happens in our lives, how we set our sights on some long off destination only to move through and past it in a blink of an eye. No matter how wonderful the destination is, it’s never as grand as you think and it never lasts as long as you hope.
Still each time you think it will be different. You hope this destination will be more final, the glory more lasting, and this new level the ultimate source of satisfaction. But it never is.
When you do the math, life is 99.99% preparation, day-to-day work, or extended journey; and only 0.01% destination, salvation, glory, and victory.
But this isn’t a reason to despair. Instead it’s a reason to enjoy the work every step of the way. It’s a reminder that from time to time you need to look up from your desk, your dishes, your heated conversation over who was supposed to pick up milk, your fights over homework, your banter over an afternoon tea and notice that this is your life.
Your life is the moments in between the notable moments. Your life is the valley between the victories. And it’s here you become everything you will be on the best and worst days of your life.
Yes, the destinations are glorious and it’s important to savor them, but life isn’t about living for glory. Life, at least a good one, is about finding your purpose in the next word you put to paper, in the next conversation you have, and in the way you meet each moment with the best of yourself.