These last few days I have been taking in some of the history of Santa Barbara. I visited El Presidio Fort which was built in the late 1700’s and the Stow House, which was built in the late 1800’s. It is amazing that I have never taken the time to stop at either one of these places. I have driven by them both dozens, if not 100’s of times, but just have never taken the time to stop. Perhaps I have just gotten to a time in my life where I can appreciate things like this that I couldn’t when I was younger. Whatever the case, I really find not only the history of them very interesting, but how well they are preserved with a city being built right around them.
Yesterday I as treated to perhaps my most rewarding experience to date, a conversation with a soon to be 103 year old women named Teesha. I have included an excerpt of my conversation with Teesha on my Facebook Page under the “notes” section (Conversation with a 103 year old), I hope you check it out. I was really looking forward to this as my friend Julie had told me that Teesha is still very alert and “with it.” I figured she must know the secrets of life, the keys to the fountain of youth. The stories she must have, the things she must have seen, done. Think about it… her lifetime spans through the roaring 20’s, The Great Depression, and countless wars. She has seen the world go from a world where ship and horse were the primary means of transportation to planes, trains and automobiles of the modern day. She saw man walk on the moon, saw the stock market rise and fall countless times. She has seen countries rises and fall, I mean when you really stop to think about it, what hasn’t she seen!!!???
What I found most remarkable about the experience is as follows:
Teesha has been all over the world. She has children, grandchildren and great grand children. She has seen, done, and experienced a lot. At 103 years old, Teesha, by her own declaration, said her traveling days were done, with the exception of some day trips here and there. As I sat and talked with her and Grandma I was asking them “the big questions,” favorite place to travel, greatest memory etc… What I noticed during our conversation was how much their eyes would light up about the small stuff… laying in the sun, riding a bicycle, watching my friend Julie’s kids run around and play. We all get caught in the habit of living for the “BIG” moment… a wedding day, the birth of a child, skydiving, the big promotion etc… Those moments are great and a huge part of our life, but unfortunately life is not made up entirely of big moments. There are a lot of little moments, the day to day moments, that make up the majority of our existence.
This is where problems arise because we build up the big moments to such epic heights that the little moments have no chance to measure up to the big ones. We begin to resent the little moments because they do not bring the excitement, the romance, the rush that the big moments do. As this pattern continues we find ourselves in more and more of a struggle in life. Smile’s leave our faces because every day is not as exciting as the day our child was born. We find ourselves frustrated more frequently because our 9 to 5 does not bring us the same thrill as jumping out of an airplane does. It can get tot he point where it feels like we are stuck in purgatory just waiting, hoping for lightning to strike and bring a little excitement into life!
The thing is, and I could see Teesha and Grandma really get this, is that if you learn to take pleasure in all the little moments in life the little moments then become bigger, greater moments. The littlest of things put a smile on their face. The littlest of things made their eyes sparkle. Teesha spoke far more fondly of riding her bike up and down the beach than she did of all the exotic places she visited. That was the big “Wow” moment for me… that something as simple as riding a bike that you received as a gift on your 70th birthday could be more exciting than globetrotting?!?! The littlest of things really are the biggest and most important for they make up the fabric of our lives. The littlest of things….
Enjoy the pics,