Storytelling. The key entity that has been occurring throughout the generations over millions of years, is one of the most beautiful and distinctive abilities we have as the human species. Stories are what pass down traditions. They keep cultures in tact and also change them. They can inspire us, make us think, bring us joy, grief or sadness. They are priceless, yet the most valuable asset to each and everyone of our lives.
Each and everyday, we have the ability to write our own stories. They can be short, that begin and end in one day. They can be chapters to a much bigger story spanning days, weeks, months or even years. They can also be never ending, ones that just get passed on to others to continue its legacy. That’s the beauty of stories.
Not too long ago, I shared a story with a stranger of a little adventure I went on one fall afternoon. This was story:
I was out on a little hike today, to a little lookout over my town. It was really lovely, the air was cold and crisp, and the trail saturated with water and mud in areas. There was a slight breeze, and most of the leaves have fallen already, except for the oaks, who retain most of their dead leaves through the winter. Once I got to the lookout, I sat on the ancient rock, eroded from ice ages; it used to be so tall. I wondered all the stories it would tell if it could talk. As I usually do, I took in the view with peace and silence, looking off into the distance seeing the mostly bare trees, with a few still holding onto their leaves. I felt on top of the world. Once it came down to descend, I came across these towering boulders that created neat little crevasses and caves. I wondered if any animals seek shelter there when it rains. On my way back I saw a red squirrel, feisty little creature. It chirped at me for a solid 5 minutes, along with his friend Dale that joined in from a nearby tree. Watching them climb trees, I wished I could be a squirrel for a day, and run around like they did. Only a few minutes later, I heard what sounded like a waterfall. Indeed it was - possibly just a seasonal one, as the fall is wet and rainy around these parts, which would fill up this stream with life. It was an unexpected surprise. Near the end of my journey, I hear yet again some ruffling in the bushes. I was unable to get a good look at it, but it seemed larger than a squirrel. It seemed black, and at first thought, maybe it was a black bear. But it seemed too small to be that too. I wish it was a bear, my spirit animal, but the ruffling stopped and I didn't want to get too close in case I might startle what ever it was. There's just something healing about spending time in nature, I love it. It was just a few hours of my day, but slightly life changing and impactful if you know what I mean.
Short and sweet, these few moments of my day, which in the grand scheme of life look pretty insignificant, still had big impacts on me. It’s a simple story of enjoying the moment and taking in your surroundings, as well as enjoying nature. This day most likely would have escaped my memory over the years to come but I choose to keep it alive by writing it down and sharing it with a complete stranger as well.
Why? Who cares? Well, I think this is where the priceless value comes in. If you picture yourself on your deathbed, would you rather be reminiscing on these experiences and sharing them through storytelling, or would you rather lay with regret that you wish you went on that hike, took that vacation, gone fishing with the buds, etc. etc. Your answer is probably the first one.
But yet, our stories seem to never change. Each and everyday is the same, with the wish that one day will be better. That one day we’ll go on that adventure. That one day, we’ll make peace with our neighbour. That one day we’ll be happy. The truth is, that story can start today.
Building our libraries of stories is really the beauty of living fully. In today’s world, there are so many ways we can tell them. From videos to photos, text to painting, and of course the original way, through word of mouth. At the end of it all, it’s your story that will matter to you the most, not the stuff we’re just hoping will fill our voids with today. Let's tell more stories. Let's make more stories happen, and let life write itself out in its crazy ways. They don't have to be over the top either. Sometimes, we find peace in the most simplest moments. Either way, our wealth will be fuller.