Monday, September 5, 2011

Instants & What To Do With What We've Got

I had an idea for a post, and then I read this poem a friend shared on Facebook: 
Instantes (Instants)

If I were able to live my life anew,
In the next I would try to commit more errors.
I would not try to be so perfect, I would relax more.
I would be more foolish than I've been,
In fact, I would take few things seriously.
I would be less hygienic.
I would run more risks,
take more vacations,
contemplate more sunsets,
climb more mountains, swim more rivers.
I would go to more places where I've never been,
I would eat more ice cream and fewer beans,
I would have more real problems and less imaginary ones.

I was one of those people that lived sensibly
and prolifically each minute of his life;
Of course I had moments of happiness.
If I could go back I would try
to have only good moments.

Because if you didn't know, of that is life made:
only of moments; Don't lose the now.

I was one of those that never
went anywhere without a thermometer,
a hot-water bottle,
an umbrella, and a parachute;
If I could live again, I would travel lighter.

If I could live again,
I would begin to walk barefoot from the beginning of spring
and I would continue barefoot until autumn ends.
I would take more cart rides,
contemplate more dawns,
and play with more children,
If I had another life ahead of me.

But already you see, I am 85,
and I know that I am dying.
-Jorge Luis Borges (Or not. Some say this is an incorrect attribution.) 
Then I came home to Fantastic Spatula and saw Lucy's fabulous post about lessons on perfection and knew I had to share the poem with you. 

Already I am 27, and I hope I have many more instants in front of me; I contemplated how I want to use them. Committing more errors would certainly happen if I translated more poems and stories by Borges. (Spanish class translating his work did not go well for me years ago.) I could certainly stand to relax and to shrug off perfectionism. 

I will face more challenges and take more risks. Lately so much of my experience has taught me that the greatest gains are made when I do something that scares me the most. I will drag my feet less. I will skip more. 

I realize I write in the future tense, and it thrills me to know that I will live my remaining instants so that when I reach that age, I can write my song of gratitude, not regret, and share my stories as encouragement, not admonitions. 

What will you do with your instants? 


  1. I've always loved that poem. It makes so much sense! A Shaman friend posed the question recently of, "Ever notice how elders say so much less and nod so much more?" I thought it was a beautiful question!