The Moments That Don’t Count

I’ve been overwhelmed by a life theme these past few days: people keep telling it to me in different forms. They’re saying it’s the moments that you don’t think count that are the most significant. They’re saying pay attention.

I attended a lecture on professionalism as a teacher. I was advised to be professional in every moment – especially in the moments you don’t think you need to be. Professionalism in the staff room, in the hallway, in the parking lot. Could it be a lifelong motive, this professionalism? What if I was the most respectful, positive, well-mannered person in every moment of my life? I should strive for that. Of course I should strive for that.

I attended a yoga class. I was told that it is the moments that we do regularly – the “lather, rinse and repeat” moments – that we let go by easiest. It is in these moments that we practice yoga. It is in these moments that we can breathe, observe, connect.

(, taken by Robert Sturman)

I love that. I love that I can improve on myself in every moment. In every dull, repetitive, standing-on-a-bus moment I can do something to better myself, and it can just be one deep breath. And by bettering myself, I better you, and you and I better the world, or the bus.

I’m so tied up in school, or more so the idea of school. We have nine classes at once. It’s hard to put everything in its right place in a binder, let alone do the work required. I’m more overwhelmed by the idea of work than the work itself. I think I’m losing track of ways of bettering myself: am I sleeping enough? Exercising? Letting my mind rest? Writing?

No. I’m not doing enough of any of those things. But I’m doing a lot of moments where I look up from an article or a schedule or a blackboard and I think of brilliant ideas. I breathe. School is a place for creative thoughts that aren’t school. I write them in the margins. I highlight them. I make lists of things to do if I wasn’t tied up in all this. I might be prone to think that nothing will come of these ideas, but last year I broke out of school and wrote a novel from my marginal thoughts.

So maybe it is the most banal moments – the bus rides and the three-hour lectures and the late nights over late papers – that make up the most significant parts of life. Because it’s in those moments that I’m growing.

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