One of the great things about Homo sapiens is our ability to make whatever is happening to us right here, right now The. Most. Important. Thing. Ever.  Doesn’t matter if it’s a recreational hockey game for middle-aged (though still spry and youthful in appearance) Homo sapiens, waiting for one’s reusable travel mug to be filled with a free-range soypuccino, or a bunch of somewhat random Homo sapiens converging for the sole purpose of singing together…it’s the ability to prioritize what’s happening in the present above all else that sets people apart from the rest of this world’s inhabitants.

And it’s this ability to pour our heart and soul into the moment that’s allowed us to compose some of our sweetest melodies (got some Ra Ra Riot and Florence + The Machine on high rotation right now), provide world class patient care and create some of the…

Actually…scratch that.

When it comes to focusing on the moment, Homo sapiens aren’t that special…most living things are pretty good at prioritizing the present…it’s how they survive.

What really sets Homo sapiens apart (and I mean it this time) from the rest of Kingdom Animalia (and, as far as I can tell, the Monera, Protista, Fungi and Plantae kingdoms as well) is our ability to live in the moment and, at the same time, look beyond the here and now, beyond even tomorrow and the day after that, towards what’s coming and what could be.

I’m not talking about eating healthily (fewer free-range soypuccinos), exercising (more hockey…supported by an ever increasing regime of cardio, light resistance training and stretching) or getting enough sleep (less late night music video binges) – sure, those pay-off in a somewhat distant and fuzzy future but, because of years of science, research and generations of watching the world get older, we all should have a pretty good idea of how our “tomorrow” selves benefit from these “today” actions. No, I’m talking about looking beyond ourselves, beyond our time, towards a world inhabited by Homo sapiens who may not even have been born yet.

So…I’ll continue to recycle, compost, bring my travel mug everywhere, turn-off the lights, waste less, join UHN’s Green Team…heck, I’ll even plant a couple of trees for my maybe grandkids to enjoy.

But that’s the easy stuff…that’s the least I can do.

So this year, sure…I resolve to remember to enjoy the moment…but also remember that, just like in a choir where each voice is indistinguishable from the next, when we realize that we’re all part of something bigger as we pour ourselves into the moment, the result is oh so much better. And this year I also resolve to do more…whatever that might be. Because even though those little bundles of magic that I once serenaded to sleep with Daniel Lanois no longer want to be anywhere near me when I break out in song, I owe it to them…and if I can’t do this, well then I haven’t really done much at all…

Happy New Year, UHN…Happy New Year.


Oh life, it’s bigger

It’s bigger than you

-REM (via Choir! Choir! Choir1)



P.S. For those who are as passionate about music and healthcare as I am, here is a beautiful intersection of the two I came across when doing “research” for this edition of Talkin’ Trash.