Non-Career Advice is a series that asks people - young, old, and in a range of occupations - for words of wisdom unrelated to work, career-building, dollars, or getting ahead.
Name: Sarah Ann Noel / Writer
Also: Library builder / image bearer / color coordinator
Live (and love) what's right in front of you. "Last May, my husband, two daughters, and I tucked all our worldly possessions into our car and moved across the country, from Denver to New York City. At that point — after graduating college, getting a job, buying a house, having a baby — life had seemed to slow down incredibly. The future seemed to be more about intentional planning and less about the curious excitement of the unknown and I was becoming suddenly, deeply nostalgic for the past. "All these major milestones have come and gone," I thought, and I worried that I'd somehow missed something. Done it all wrong.
But here we were, making a cross-country move. It was an unforeseen adventure, a surprise I hadn’t expected to be around the next corner — and I considered how I’d only just been longing for those early twenties days, where all the excitement seemed to live, wondering if I’d taken it for granted then. Someday, I realized, this adventure would be in my past, and I might be nostalgic for these moments.
Suddenly, to live in the present made perfect sense to me—not in a pressured, striving manner, like, 'Pay attention! Be here and now!' But more an appreciation of mere moments and seconds. I love to stop in the middle of the sidewalk to feel a crispy, beginning-of-autumn breeze; to ride the train with no other amusements than to watch the people around me; to drink in the actual words of a book I’m reading; to sit still and listen to my daughters’ laughter echo down the long hallway of our apartment. Probably none of these moments will propel me forward in any measurable sense; maybe they are what I’ll be nostalgic for some day later on.
I am so skilled at living in different places—in ten years from now, in next month’s big adventure, in one hundred versions of a hypothetical situation. But it's the life before my eyes right now that I have to work with. And it is beautiful: more tangible than anything that has happened before, and lovelier and more pure than anything I could dream up for the future."