Friday 27 March 2009

Moments of Clarity

We all have them from time to time, I assume. Some people call them Key Moments of Learning or Revelations or whatever else fits those moments of clarity best in their opinion; I call them Moments of Clarity.

Probably there are people on this planet who have them all the time, some may even live their whole lives in a continuous state of clarity, but to be honest, I think that would take a lot of life's charm off it. Just think what it would be like never to wonder about things again! It would be plain boring.

Where was I? Oh yes, my moments of clarity.

I am 41, which is quite a bit longer than the average human being used to live when my ancestors roamed the forests and savannahs in search of food, shelter and mates. So, in those 41 years, three moments of clarity do not seem much to boast. In fact, there were some more, but I am not going to write about these. Instead I want to write about the ones that did the most for me.


That was one big moment of clarity. I can't exactly remember how old I was, but I know I wasn't a child anymore; I think I already lived in my own flat when it struck me: I am not immortal, and my time has a limit.
When I was a kid, I remember my mum urging us to go out on a sunny day instead of playing indoors, because, as she said, you should make the most of the good weather while it lasts. Back then, it didn't make much sense to me. Surely there was an infinite number of sunny days coming my way? If I wasn't playing in the sun today, I was going to do so tomorrow; and if it was going to rain tomorrow, then I'd just wait for the next sunny day, and so on.

But then, one day, I suddenly understood that the number of sunny days (or rainy ones, or any other ones) was, in fact, NOT unlimited for me. That there was eventually and inevitably going to be an end to "my" days, at some stage.
It was the moment that, in hindsight, defined "growing up" for me.


Years before the above described moment of clarity, I rode my bike just for the fun of it, as I did so often (and still do, in summer). I even remember the exact spot of road where I suddenly looked at my hands resting on the handlebar of my bike, stretching my fingers, and thinking "This, right here at my fingertips, is where I as a person end, where my border is to the world around me. Beyond, there is everyone and everything else. Up to that point, there is me, just me and nobody and nothing else."
It was an intense moment of loneliness, like many more would follow, but it was not unpleasant.


Already in my mid-thirties, I was sent into rehab for my long-lasting and severe back problems (caused by scoliosis). For the first time in my adult life, all that was required from me was to look after myself and get better. And get better I did.

Very soon after I was back home, one morning I stood under the shower and had another moment of clarity. That's it, I thought, that's you, your body, the only one you have and the only one you will ever get. Once that one is ruined, there will be no replacement. So you better take good care of it.

Ever since, I have not stopped getting stronger and fitter. In fact, at 41, I feel better than I did at 30, and I am proud enough to say that I also look better.

So, these select few personal moments of clarity may seem silly to some of you. Laugh, then; you are welcome to it.


  1. Gosh Meike. I wish that I'd come across this earlier. It is very illuminating. I don't think that I have ever had definable moments like that in relation to my life or, if I have had, then I don't recall them now.

    Having said that I have, for as long as I can remember, wanted to make the most of every day and that was brought home to me very forcibly when I was told that there was nothing more that could be done for my cancer (which turned out to be untrue I'm pleased to say).

    Your second moment about consciousness is fascinating. I don't think I'll ever be able to ride my bike again without giving your point some thought.

    To your last point (which was what started the process of me ending up here at this post) all I can say is that I never consciously thought of that and, looking back, I wish that I had been a bit more assiduous in some of my exercises for looking after my body.

    1. Graham, you are the first - and will probably remain the only - person ever to comment of this, the 3rd post I ever published! First of all, thank you for not only following the link I so boldly left in my comment on your blog, but also for taking the time and commenting.

      That is simply how I see it; this body is the only one I am fully responsible for, and that's not too much being asked from me, is it :-)

  2. Thanks for directing me here! Very well put. And oh, so true.