The best gift you can give!

Do you believe in omens? I mean, not seriously! Have you ever experienced signs that hinted something was going to happen and you realized after the event that you had seen the signs but not really noticed or gave them a second thought until after?  One might argue that there are no magical signs, its just that you are not as observant as Sherlock Holmes or Dr. Cal Lightman to connect the obvious dots through logical reasoning. I play a small game sometimes when I am bored, especially while traveling in a vehicle as a passenger and thinking of some dilemma that I haven’t found an answer to yet. I try to look outside the window at the signs being thrown at me as hints and connect them to arrive at the suggested answer to my problem at hand (of course not seriously). Anything really – decals on passing vehicles, billboard signs, captions of restaurants and hotels, quotes on t-shirts and at times even the road signs themselves. You will be surprised to know how perfectly they seem to address the exact problem at hand and how interesting the hints are. Lately I have experienced time and again several signs leading me to one thing even when I am not playing the little game – to the topic of time as a gift.

I have always been intrigued by thoughts and things that represent time. I feel they remind me how precious each moment is and that it will not come back again. I feel they remind us to live in the moment, to do things you are passionate about, to do things you have been putting off out of fear of failure. If you ask me to name one fear of mine at this very instant, it would be this: that when I look back after some years and I regret that I did not do something I really wanted to do, that life could have been different had I had the courage to do it even if it meant taking the chance and failing miserably, and that now is too late to try it. I don’t want to regret not doing something out of fear and then before I know time has passed into when it cannot be undone.

A friend of mine once said that I was good at choosing gifts. If you ask me what is the best gift a person can give to another person, I say it is time – especially in the contemporary lifestyle where everything is fast paced and where each minute counts. It is such a valuable gift you give – when you take a few minutes to stop and say hello to a random person and ask how their day has been, when you reschedule a meeting of yours to make it to dinner with your parents or friends, when you take an afternoon off to take your child to his/her favorite game, when you take a day to spend the anniversary or birthday with your significant other, when you take a year of your busy life to spend time with a loved one in their last stage of life or when you choose an alternative plan for your career to spend the rest of your life together with the one. This is such a gift that is more valuable to the giver than to the person who receives it, for with every moment together it weaves the threads of satisfaction into a cradle to nurture you in times of loneliness and despair.

Often times we take people and their time for granted. We think that the everyday rituals with our family or friends are not significant, that we can skip them for today in pursuit of more demanding goals or work; this repeats for a few days, few weeks, becomes a habit and before you know it will be years that you have been into the making of a dream that you failed to realize the distance between the most important people in your life has been growing. And if the lady luck decided to walk out on you suddenly, you will wake up one day to realize that the distance is now immeasurable. I still remember an acquaintance settled in US once sharing that they had a strong urge to visit the family back in India after 2 years but chose to postpone it by a couple of months due to demands at work. Unfortunately it so happened that finally when they got ready to make the trip, they heard the devastating news of their father passing away just a week before their planned travel.

Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, it is the only time we’ve got. – Art Buchwald

Relationships, friendships, family and people require effort, willingness and communication to stay connected especially when you are not physically close to one another. There will be easy and difficult times but it is a choice to spend those times together or not. It is important to carve out niches of time for the ones we care about. Time is such a priceless gift and the best gift in my eyes. I don’t know if the signs had some message for me or not, but they sure did remind me to be thankful for the people around me. Next time you are searching hard for a perfect gift to show your love or affection to someone, why not surprise them with a whole day to spend together? 🙂

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