The Champions League supplied us with some interesting surprises the other week. Guardiola's Bayern lost at home to Real, while Atletico continued its unbeaten run. It was nice, but for the first time in years I felt at a loss: I had no one to discuss these surprises with. You see, the routine for such football games was for me to analyse them over a phone call with my father. Only this time around I no longer have a father to share my analysis with. Who am I going to report the referee's a wanker to now?
It shouldn't have come as a surprise, but it did: the loss of my father manifests itself in mysterious ways. It's those little things that are no longer there that hurt the most, now that the initial shock over the death had somewhat faded. These little things probably hurt more than expected because of their surprise factor.
The seemingly meaningless loss of a football analysis partner made me try and recall the last time I spent quality time with my father. As in, the last time we did something nice together outside the confines of a hospital. As it turns out, that last time was us eating out at a fish restaurant located at an Israeli shopping mall.
At the time I did not make much of the occasion. Sure, there were numerous family members with us and the food was great. But I am not this world's biggest fan of shopping malls, it was a hot summer Israeli day, and my father's car broke down on the way back. In other words, at the time that particular experience did not feel like the momentous historical occasion it turned out to be; it was just another chapter in the lengthy book of my strained relationship with my parents.
Plenty of more words can be written about the wisdom of hindsight. What I take from this experience, and that's a taking that is there to be taken regardless of hindsight, is the importance of the present. Who knows when we will ever get to do this thing we are currently doing once again? Perhaps never.
The lesson, therefore, is to cease the day. But what does that slogan mean in the first place? How does one cease a day?
I'll tell you how not to cease a day. There's this saying along the lines of "live today as if it is your last day". But can we really live like that on a regular basis? I don't know about you, but if I knew today is my last day I'd probably prefer not to go to work; I'd spend more money than I would any other day; and I might even try a cigarette. The point is, I would do all sorts of things I should not really be doing if I was to live a while longer because they would hurt me.
My interpretation of ceasing the day is different. That office corridor chit chat, that cup of coffee with a friend? Those seemingly meaningless moments, the fillers? They all need to be savoured. We need to make the most out of them, because these brief moments are the moments that make up a life. These are the moments that make up friendships. Accumulated, these are the moments that make us who we are.
Image by Chris Lofqvist, Creative Commons licence