I tend to read a range of blogs one in particular had an article written by guest Diane Dutchin who wrote: “The dash between the dates of our birth to the last day of our life contains a personal history of who we were, how we lived, who we knew and what we did with our lives.”
I spend a great deal of time thinking about the daily, the now, the present, so reading this widened my eyes and my perspective. Certainly similar statements have been made before, but Diane’s choice of words; the image of the dash between two dates which jumps out so vividly at me from the computer screen and made me realize two things:
- Our lives: happy or unhappy, positive or negative will eventually be reduced to a tiny dash between two dates.
- It is up to us to decide what we want our tiny dash to contain.
Because I spend a lot of time reading, thinking, and writing about happiness in the present moment,I often forget about the shortness of my life and how little my own personal happiness will matter in the future. “I want to be happy now” is a statement I often make, disregarding the irrelevance of my own personal satisfaction. Life, even my own small life, is bigger than my emotional state (though, at times, this is seriously difficult to come to terms with).
I believe, of course, that happiness and positivity are important. Living in the moment is important. But what about the future? What about the positivity and happiness of those around us? Certainly by being positive and present we can bring joy to those around us, but there is a bigger picture, one that Diane brought to my attention quite surprisingly. It is important not to forget this. Life is all of the moments between the first date and the last. Life is the dash.
The question then becomes, what is in your dash? I suppose there are different ways to look at this. We could think about the day-to-day stuff, the little interactions, the smiles, the emotions. Or we could think about the big stuff, what you can say you gave back to the world around you, how you impacted society. The dash is everything; the tiny and the huge. That is why it’s so important to remember to be present, but to keep it in perspective. The daily ins and outs of life can be overwhelming, tiring, draining, but this is only a very small part of the dash.
Reading Diane’s quote has really made me think; raising questions in my mind. If how we feel now, in the present, is considered so important, does that diminish the importance of the always-present dash? And if we ignore the dash; the whole entity of our life does it help or hurt a quest for happiness? As with most things, I believe that balance is key. See the big picture. Think about the dash. But don’t lose sight of the little moments, living in the present, in the life you have right now.
Another very interesting quote:
I think this one pretty much sums up the point I was trying to make. We may not understand what is in our dash until that second date is put in place so we have to keep moving forward, thinking positively, and striving to make our world the most positive place it can be – today and always.
The Girl Who Writes