By Rachel Linden
It’s spring in Budapest – trees budding pink around the ornate stone Austro-Hungarian buildings, grim commuters finally cracking a smile as they hurry by in the sunshine. The myriad cafes and elegant coffee houses are finally setting out their tables and chairs under striped awnings. Everything about spring in this city invites you to walk more slowly, savor the sunshine, sip a glass of white wine and watch the Danube River ripple slowly by.
I’m not a natural at slowing and savoring. I’m more of a high-energy accomplisher. I relish crossing things off my to-do list. I love the satisfaction of a job well done. But I’m also aware of how much I lose if I don’t learn to live in the moment, put down my list, savor the sunshine amidst the quiet elegance of my adopted city.
In university a professor had a poster on her wall that said simply, “We had the experience but missed the meaning.” I was struck then by those words and have remembered them since. With my efficiency and task-orientation, I risk that very thing – having the experiences but missing the true meaning behind them. There is meaning in our seconds and hours and days, every one of them, if we have eyes to see it.
There is meaning beyond efficiently crossing off items on a to-do list. I want to remember that this spring. In the midst of such beauty, a visible invitation to linger and enjoy, I want to embrace the truth behind that simple poster. I want to have the experiences and in the midst of them slow down, allow myself to breathe and taste and just be – to fully absorb the meaning of each beautiful moment.