1. Opening your first paycheck.
It’s usually your smallest, but no other will fill you with as much pride and excitement.
2. Bearing witness to a turning point in history.
Being present during something truly historic is rare. When these moments come it’s best to sit up and take notice.
3. Driving alone for the first time.
Driving becomes commonplace all too soon. Enjoy that first “Holy crap! Am I really doing this all by myself?” moment.
4. Reveling in a great book.
Instead of tossing a brilliant book aside after finishing it, spend some time reflecting on the incredible journey you’ve just been on.
5. Graduating from school.
You’ve not only accomplished something after years of hard work, but your friends, family, and community are there to congratulate you. Bask in the moment.
6. Having an adult conversation with your parents.
At some point your parents go from being rule enforcers to your peers. When they open up about their hopes and dreams — and tell you about things they couldn’t before — you need to pay attention.
7. Appreciating an animal.
It can be a snuggle with your pet or a visit to a wildlife preserve, but everyone should take a moment (or thousands of them) to appreciate our fellow creatures.
8. Enjoying a great meal.
Does your mom, dad, or grandparent cook a meal that you love? Next time they do focus on savoring each bite, remembering the taste and texture. One day it will be just a memory, and even though you’ll have the recipe it won’t ever taste quite as good as when they made it.
9. Visiting hallowed ground.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a visit to your ancestral homeland, a religious pilgrimage, or even a trip to Liverpool by a Beatlemaniac. Time spent in these places is special.
10. Taking a trip with your friends.
Time often pulls friends in different directions, and when you have spouses and kids it only becomes harder to see each other. That’s why it’s so important to soak up these moments when you have them.
11. Experiencing disappointment.
“Savor” might not be quite the right word for this one, but too often we try to wipe these experiences from our memory without examining them, when in fact they can teach us a great deal.
12. Doing something by yourself.
It’s exhilarating to know that you don’t need anyone else. Enjoy your own company when you get the chance.
13. Falling in love.
Love deepens and grows in the best relationships, but there’s nothing quite like the euphoria of first falling in love. Savor it by writing a song, poem, or in a journal. It may sound cheesy, but one day, when you’re looking back, you’ll be glad to have it.
14. Communing with nature.
This is a beautiful world we live in. Taking the time to enjoy the glory of a sunrise, or the magnificence of the Grand Canyon, is well worth it.
15. Getting engaged.
This only happens once (ideally). Make it special.
16. Doing something spontaneous.
We’re all slaves to schedule more or less. That’s why when you do something totally unexpected you need to drink it in.
17. Receiving an accolade.
We get far fewer accolades in life than we deserve. When you get one, soak it up.
18. Getting married.
So much happens on your wedding day that it’s easy for it all to seem like a blur. Pausing to take a few moments of reflection on the big day helps a great deal.
19. Witnessing the birth of your child.
Similar to your wedding day, the awesomeness of this moment can overwhelm the senses and make it difficult to remember things clearly. Staying calm and even jotting down your thoughts as they come to you is smart.
20. Accomplishing something you didn’t think you could.
Surprise yourself by running a marathon (or 5k)? Learn to play a favorite song on the piano or to cook a delicious meal? We’re all capable of more than we realize, and when we prove that to ourselves it’s worth savoring.
21. Going on an ice cream date with your kid.
They grow up so fast. Give yourself over 100% to the innocence and fun of sharing some ice cream with your kid.
22. Attending an event of your dreams.
Have you always dreamed of seeing a Broadway play, your rock heroes in concert, or a World Series game? If you get the chance remember to treat it like the special event that it is.
23. Enjoying a family vacation.
Sure, there’s little privacy and almost always a fight or two, but you’ll reminisce about these trips for the rest of your life.
24. Going offline.
This is especially important for younger people who have never known life without the internet. Unplugging for a day is something everyone should experience.
25. Succeeding at work.
Too often work can be a thankless slog, but there are successes mixed in with the mundane. Whether it’s fixing an engine thought to be beyond repair or teaching a struggling student to read, you need to revel in those moments when they come.
26. Watching your parents interact with your child.
Put down the phone, forget your worries, and just watch. It’s not only incredibly sweet, but will take you back to when you were a kid long ago.
27. Celebrating anniversaries.
Don’t shrug off anniversaries. They mean something has lasted the test of time, and that’s worth honoring.
28. Giving to others.
These moments connect us to our fellow humans and our sense of empathy. Stopping to think about what you’ve done will make you more likely to do it again.
29. Leaving a family home.
It’s the people in life that matter, not the places you occupy. But a family home can be meaningful nonetheless. When moving out stop what you’re doing, walk from room to room, and reflect on the good times you shared there once more.
30. Completing your last day of work.
For better or worse your job is where you’ve spend the majority of your time for 40 years. Before you leave it behind once and for all think about what you’ve accomplished, and drink in the sights, smells, and people you did it with.
31. Making someone’s dream come true.
Few things rival the joy of making someone else truly happy. When you do, enjoy the feeling.
32. Bringing family together.
It’s easy for each of us to complain about how crazy our family is, but it’s those moments when we’re all together — before death and geography inevitably pull us apart — that we’ll miss the most one day.