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On Peaches, Park Benches, and Choosing What Matters Most

“Can we eat a peach?”

My son was close to turning four. We were walking back from the Tuesday morning market in our town. It was summertime. I still had to work. He didn’t.

“Can’t it wait till we get home? I’ve got things to do.”

“I’m hungry. It’s just a peach!”

And with that, the two of us grabbed a seat on an empty park bench across the street from our apartment. For the next five minutes, we sat there in silence eating our peaches looking up occasionally to take in the world and the people around us.

“Thanks, Dad,” my kid said after making the one-minute walk back home. “That was a really good peach!”

I was a word away from missing out on that moment because I wanted to spend the next five minutes probably sending an email to someone I can’t remember or trying to write an article that most people probably forget.

It’s crazy when you think about it. The moments that stick with us. The little ones that hit us.

To anyone walking by, we looked like any middle-aged guy and his kid sitting on a bench. Three years later, it’s one of my favorite memories. It was right before we met his little brother. That was my moment with my first boy. His personality was starting to come out. Talking full sentences. We’d started to become friends. We could sit comfortably in silence.

I think about that a lot. Memories of before our second child when it was just the three of us. They’re fading fast. Or maybe it’s that I didn’t make enough of them.

I worry about that a lot. The memories that could’ve been. The ones I said no to. The times I thought I had something better to do. Those memories aren’t fading as fast. Or maybe they weren’t meant to.

Regrets, when you’re still young, aren’t regrets — they’re reminders.

Reminders we can still make the time.

Reminders the choice is ours.

Reminders it’s not too late to change.

In a world fuelled by deadlines, to-do lists, and never-ending goals to crush, it’s surprisingly easy to forget what the real goal is.

Why was it hard to say yes to a peach with my boy?

Why did I initially say no?

I think about that a lot. Whoever was on the other side of that email probably didn’t care if I got back to them or not. I’m sure my editor wasn’t watching the clock. The only person telling me to get back to work was me.

I’m glad I said yes to my boy that day. It’s made me appreciate peaches more. Sometimes the memory pops into my head when I see a random park bench. It reminds me that when you choose one thing you’re choosing not to do something else. It reminds me to actually think about the things I’m saying no to. It reminds me of just how important those moments in between really are.

A peach.

A park bench.

Silent conversations.

I can’t tell you anything else about that day. The emails have since been deleted. That client has probably moved on.

But I’ll always have those five minutes with my boy.

I’ll always have that really good peach.

Thank you for reading.
Eat more peaches.
— Michael

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