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The Parts That Aren't in the Books

Usually when we're dreaming of what our lives are going to be like, we think of special, important moments. A first date, a job interview, college graduation, a wedding, the birth of a child.

When looking forward to a new stage of life or a new career, we rarely think about those ordinary moments that make up the majority of our time. We think about the job interview, or the moment of getting a promotion; not the hours commuting, filling out paperwork, unjamming the copy machine, or trying to figure out why your computer isn't working.

When contemplating marriage, we think about the wedding, the birth of a child or a family vacation; not the day-to-day tasks of sweeping the floor, cooking food, or paying the bills.

These unexciting moments don't usually make it into books or daydreams, which focus on moments of drama or decision—and certain moments are definitely more important than others. But the majority of our time is spent doing things that don't make it into stories or daydreams. And it's important to remember that those things are also real life. Sitting on the bus, doing homework, doing chores—this is your life. If you check out of the “unimportant” moments, and spend all your time waiting for “real life” to happen in those few moments of drama, you'll wake up one day and find that most of life passed you by while you weren't looking.

The way you live the unimportant moments often defines the important ones too. Sometimes the tasks you think are boring and unimportant open up opportunities you aren't expecting. And every task, every moment, no matter how mundane—eating lunch, getting dressed, waiting for someone—can be a prayer, can be a preparation, can be a worthy part of a life fully lived.

This year, let's try be present for all of our life, and not waste our time waiting for the few moments that would make it into the books. The boring parts won't make it into your biography, but the way you live them will define what story it tells.

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