Before you read this, please watch the short video above.
A fast-moving montage or a moment-by-moment experience: Which is more powerful?
There is clearly energy in the incredibly fast-moving 4.2 seconds of scenes first shown above. I was pulled into the scenario, and it was fun!
Yet I had no idea what had actually happened. It was a total blur. I had no idea what I’d actually seen — or missed. Not until I watched the slower version. How could I? It went by way too fast.
As I watched the 4-minute version, I could see many amazing things. Each of the movements was mesmerizing. How did these guys dream this up? Who had the vision? How did they decide what came first, second, last? Why was each section chosen? How many rehearsals did it take — or did they do it just once and let the results be what they were?
So of course I (and maybe you, too) see it as a metaphor for life. What are we missing due to our nonstop actions? While we’re whirling in place, proud of our ability to multi-task, what colors don’t we see because we’re looking the wrong way? What smiling faces do we miss because we’re looking at our cell phones, frantically texting? How many days, weeks, and months clump together in our memory, with precious few details staying with us? How many times does Friday come as a total surprise, with no clear memory of what Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday looked like?
At the end of our life — what will we remember? The frantic and exhausting race to get everything done, purchased, sold, returned, changed, built, knocked down, fixed, altered, clipped, sent, received, organized, written, photographed, rewritten, wrapped, unwrapped?
Or the beautiful moments that make a life worth living?
Will we remember how it felt to watch the sunsets that took ten minutes to show their brilliant colors unfold?
Will we remember birthday parties with our kids, watching their faces glow in the light of the candles on their cake?
Will we remember the hugs of loved ones that soothed our wounded feelings — and theirs? That bound us more tightly together in love and gave such comfort? That gave an afterglow that lasted for days?
How about the man on the boat above, looking as if he’s dancing in the light? If we had been there watching him on that day — would we remember wondering about his life? Would we have taken the time to take it all in? What might we have seen, smelled, heard — if we had taken the time?
Or would we have missed him completely as we rushed off to the next experience, and the next, and the next?
Will we remember gatherings of friends, parties with laughing co-workers, strolls on soft sandy beaches with anyone and everyone, the aroma of cotton candy at a fair, the taste of freshly baked brownies, the giggles of small children, or drives to nowhere just to see what might be around the next curve?
Will these be inside us as warm memories, waiting to be savored again and again?
Or will we have rushed through life, trying to do too much and ending up with the 4.2-second version of the video?
We have a chance to really live — if we live in the moment.
Maybe this is what growing older does for us: It gives us perspective. It shows us what stays with us, which memories hold a special place in our heart and life, which experiences evoke feelings of having really lived. Of having touched others. Of having made a difference.
It reminds us that time is precious and it’s finite, but we still have a chance to shape our future to include things that will be meaningful for us.
4.2 seconds or 4 minutes? We have a choice. What will yours be?