A few years ago, my father shared a piece of wisdom with me. He said that from all the travels and adventures, I’d gather countless stories to share with my future grandchildren. Since that conversation, I’ve collected many more such tales and countless of what I fondly call ‘fat moments’. Recently, as my father turned 69, his wisdom prompted me to reflect on these fat moments. As I continue to collect these adventurous memories, I hold onto the hope of sharing them with my grandchildren one day. That chapter of my story is yet to be written.
And this is deeply connected to a similar story: a few years ago, I found a beautiful sentence on the internet that resonated deeply with me: “Create a folder on your computer where you can put all of the wonderful moments, you know, the pictures, the stories, the testimonials from your clients, the jokes.” And, if you like, you can create a label in your inbox called “Love” where you can store all the amazing compliments, beautiful stories, and pictures that make your heart beat faster and bring you joy.
You’re essentially creating a collection of so-called ‘fat moments’ – moments that made your soul laugh, your heart beat faster, your body relax.
There’s so much good in this idea. Being an early adopter, I loved it and implemented it immediately. The sentiment behind this idea is that when something bad happens, or when your life changes rapidly and you’re unsure of what’s happening, where to go, or what to do (for instance, if you get sick, someone moves on, passes away, or maybe you lose your job, or your heart gets shattered into a million pieces), you can return to this little label in your inbox or the folder on your desktop.
You can read and look at all the beautiful things you’ve received or experienced, making these challenging moments a little less difficult. Collecting these ‘fat moments’ reminds us that life brings lots of joy and love despite its complexities, struggles, and challenges.
This idea is great, or at least I always believed it was until one day, a tragedy struck in my life.
I forgot that I had that folder on my desktop, and the label in my mailbox seemed non-existent.
This is the point where we realize that no quick fix, tip, or shortcut can bring back happiness when we’re hit by a hard time. No collection of happy memories, even if it’s just a click away, can completely protect us from life’s painful moments.
When troubles show up, all we’re left with is that very moment and the heavy feelings that come with it. Fully facing it, instead of trying to dodge it, is what really makes us strong. We have to remember that life isn’t just one thing; it’s like a range of colors. Even when we’re in the middle of chaos, it can be hard to see, but there’s always a brighter spot waiting for us.
One day, when we finally get through the hard times, we’ll start to understand how deep our experiences really were. The tough stuff we went through will turn into wisdom, helping us understand our shared human journey better. The pain will turn into lessons learned, drawing a map of strength in our hearts. The pain of a wound fades over time, but the strength we gain from healing stays with us.
However, this doesn’t imply that we shouldn’t maintain a folder brimming with joyous ‘fat moments’ on our desktop or ‘Love’ labels in our inboxes. We should undoubtedly welcome this imaginative idea, create even more of these ‘fat moments’, and remember that there’s no requirement to share them on social media. ,-)
Among my cherished ‘fat moments’ are the following: hearing someone announce her decision to write a book after listening to me at a conference; being told by another that I’ve made a transformative impact on her life; receiving a heartfelt hug from someone after he realized that I was part of his rescue team. Not to mention all the moments of kindness I’ve experienced: someone assuring me they have my back and then proving it; a friend cooking dinner for me when I was a worn-out student, having spent the entire weekend working only to face a Spanish lesson at 8 a.m. the next day; receiving a card filled with heartfelt appreciation; someone saying that I’m a ‘rare species’ that needs protection (that last one always makes me chuckle).
You’ll notice that none of these moments involve professional accolades. No achievement in my career can surpass the value of these instances of kindness, appreciation, and deep human connection. Someone recently reminded me that being alive is already a miracle; anything beyond that is just a bonus.
What are your favorite fat moments?