• Rachel Laiosa

Learning to Love the Little Moments

Happy December. It’s been a long year and we’re nearing the end of it (thank you, Lawd). Just making it through to 2020 feels like an accomplishment in itself. To commemorate this powerful, emotional, unforgettable year in the rearview, Prezence is pausing to appreciate the little moments.

Quarantine brought out the introvert in all of us. Some of us struggled with it, while others felt right at home being, you know, at home. We had no social distractions to fall back on, no trips to look forward to, hell, I even craved a stressful day in the office sometimes.

When the initial peak of the pandemic hit in March, South Boston became a total ghost town, and I knew my roommates and I would slowly lose our sanity if we stayed cooped up in a tiny three-bedroom apartment. So, I headed to the suburbs to reunite with my OG roommates, Jim and Denise. Full disclosure, my parents are unbelievable people. I’ve literally watched my friends’ smiles fade when I say “my parents aren’t home.” So, I wasn’t too upset about hitting pause on my city life for a little.

We made the most of quarantine, no doubt about it. I attempted baking (I was usually relegated to cleaning duty), mom and I destroyed 5 seasons of Fixer Upper, and got attached to some British Baking Show contestants. Dad and I even played basketball like we did when I was in high school. Every time I caught myself craving my old life or counting the months ahead, I reminded myself to treasure these fleeting little moments right in front of me.

“How crazy is it...you being here like when you were a kid.” I remember my dad saying a few weeks in. “If this pandemic hadn’t happened, you never would have moved back, probably ever!” And he was completely right. So, I embraced this unexpected chapter as a chance to see things a little differently.

I found myself excited over the weirdest, smallest things. It’s all we had, right? Bird watching became a major event in the household. And for someone who doesn’t get out of bed until 9:30am, I was sneaking outside to gawk over the sunrise (I literally don’t think I’d ever seen it before). I’d leave my phone at home and go for long walks with my mom, mesmerized by the winding rivers and marshes stretching alongside us.

When we don’t have big moments to parade around and glorify, what’s left? We’re so caught up in getting to that next major milestone that the little moments are drowned out. A day is just an abbreviation for a day closer to that promotion. Or that wedding. Or graduation. Or whatever. With those milestones on pause, little moments become monumental. We celebrate a successful attempt at a new recipe. A time-slowing, breath-taking sunset. A big belly laugh during a FaceTime Friday night. Imagine if, new norms aside, we appreciated moments like we did in 2020?

I also read during quarantine—as a writer you’d think I would do that more, but alas. On my short list was Beartown. It took place in a very isolated, very cold little town in Sweden, where all they had was hockey. It was beautifully written, and it challenged me to rethink my priorities. One quote, in particular, still sits with me.

“The only thing the sport gives us are moments. But what the hell is life...apart from moments?”

We work so hard towards the big milestones of life that we let special little moments lose their shine. We work so hard to get an A in a class that we forget to reflect back on the late nights leading up to it—locked in classrooms, ordering Chinese food, giggling delusionally with classmates as you doodled on the whiteboards.

I challenge you to string those little moments together...including the mundane ones. You’ll probably discover that you still have a pretty fantastic life, even without those milestones you put at the top of your resume and post on Instagram. Try stripping away the competition of living, and focus fully on your ability to breathe in the present and feel with every fiber you’ve got. Because when all is said and done, the moments worth living are tucked in the details.

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