I watched a TED talk on Youtube recently (love ted talks and Youtube) and the lecturer, Dr. Rick Hanson, reminded me of a very important lesson that can so easily be forgotten in our often demanding days as parents. He asked “What’s the most important minute of your life?” And I sat there thinking about it…

My mind went to the future. I thought about all the future desires, goals, and possibilities. I thought about how the most important minute wasn’t here yet. Maybe when it gets here there’s going to be a big AHA moment that signifies it’s here – if-then-when- or whatever it is – in the future.

Then like a good girl student (yes, I’m a recovering one of those) I thought about the past and was it something I did? Is it over? Was it a good decision? Did I even enjoy it? Was there fear involved? No, that couldn’t be it. Nothing in the past could be so important –could it? So I was stuck waiting for the answer and left pondering what THAT minute could be.

Philosophically I thought about how could such a full and rich life be reduced to a minute? What about all those moments when we laugh with loved ones? Or spontaneous acts of following our desires? All the little moments (or big ones) filled with overwhelming joy and gratitude for all that we have. What about everything that makes up our lives? What is ALL of that stuff anyway?

Back to the minute. I was anticipating and wondering if any of my thoughts were the ‘right’ ones. It’s good to be right, but wait a minute!? I digressed and went down the rabbit hole of thought. Who is this guy anyway? And what makes him the expert? How could he possibly tell me what the most important minute is? He doesn’t know me.

Then there was the big reveal. Finally, it all made sense. YES!!! He’s exactly right. How could I have not seen what was right in front of me? I knew that! It’s how I live my life (or at least try) unless it’s one of ‘those’ days when things get a bit (or a lot) challenging and I find myself yelling “Serenity now – serenity now!!!!” But even then, in the rhythms of life, in the ebb and flow, I thought about his answer and he was right. It held true. It was true. This man knew what he was talking about.

I sat and thought about it. I felt my body relax. The anticipation was gone and replaced with relief. I felt really good about the answer. It was exactly right and here’s why. It’s because the most important minute of your life is: the next one. It’s the moment we all have available to us as long as we’re here AND it’s the time to decide how you want to move forward. How beautiful is that? It’s like a clean slate every minute, because we get to decide how it goes. What choices we make (and they’re all choices) even in the hard stuff, we choose the next place in time – in our life – right now – this minute.

So don’t waste those minutes with your little ones, family, spouse, friends, and yourself. Don’t brew over regret or things from the past (it’s over). Let the future unfold as it does (it hasn’t happened yet anyway) and be happy now – in the present moment. After all, it’s all we really have. The present moment. Between here and the finish line, life happens and it’s ALL of the moment to moment interactions that make up this thing called life. To quote Dr. Hanson, “If you take care of the minutes, the years take care of themselves.” Thank you for the reminder Doc.