Appreciating the ellipsis

Your years and months and days are made up of seemingly trivial tasks that are overshadowed by “big deals.”

Kate Nelson

This being my last column for the Daily, you no doubt can understand the pressure I feel to impart upon you something worthwhile, something phenomenal, something unforgettable. Well, truth be told, I’m not sure I’m up to the task.

In fact, when I started thinking about what was important enough that it deserved space in my final Daily piece, my mind couldn’t find something worthy of taking up both your and my time and energy.

With a war going on halfway around the world and our own personal tragedy last week, what could I say that would be worth dragging your attention away from such momentous happenings?

Then I realized that’s just what I need to tell you.

Susan B. Anthony once said that the truly significant moments in life are not the advertised ones – not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings – but instead are the time that elapses in between those. The minutia. The stuff that, in the big picture, doesn’t seem to matter.

Upon reflecting on the memories and moments that normally fit the bill of noteworthy, I was hit by the realization that so much is lost when a life is examined just by these so-called important events; so much overlooked life exists within the ellipsis, between the “big deals.”

My own story is scant without the minutia. It’s downright boring and reads like a résumé or some laundry list of achievements.

The real story remains unexplained without those seemingly insignificant – but in reality, quite the opposite – pieces of time.

This summer has been a three-month transition period between life stages. Between existing in the protective womb that is the University and moving into the cold, harsh light of the real world. Somehow I’ve changed and am ready to take this step, but I know it didn’t happen suddenly; rather, I just haven’t paid attention to the gradual morph I’ve been undergoing.

While major life-changing events are not to be disregarded, perhaps they shouldn’t be given as much credit as is usually bestowed upon them.

After all, any journey is made up of many small steps. The outpouring of help after the bridge collapse comes down to each hand that reached out to help someone to safety. And your years and months and days are made up of seemingly trivial tasks like brushing your teeth and picking through the produce at the grocery store.

So if I’ve one piece of information important enough for you to take away from this, dear reader, it’s to try to enjoy the ellipsis. This moment right now while you sit reading the paper. The next time you see those faces that seem to have grown far too familiar. The “average” tomorrow you’ll inevitably have. Because in reality, what are we without the ellipsis?

Kate Nelson welcomes comments at [email protected]