How often do I take life for granted? How often am I just being as opposed to living? How much of my most precious resource is squandered every day, even every hour? How often do I take my family and friends for granted and just assume that they’ll be around forever? Sadly, the answers to all of these questions are all the same… More often than I care to admit.
Yesterday contained several events that brought that realization to the forefront of my brain. Over the past 24-ish hours I’ve been able to digest some of it and see that I still have a very large gap to bridge. While this blog has been helping appreciate things more there are still many spots where I’m lacking.
One of yesterday’s events that got my mind rolling was a Facebook post by a very good friend of mine. His post was this,”Today is a day that I always give thanks to all the people in my life that I love. Take every chance you have to let them know how much you love them!” As you can imagine, he lost someone he loves several years ago and this lone tree one on a rock in Sylvan Lake has special meaning to him.
Another conversation late in the night informed me that someone I love greatly is about to go through a very serious battle with cancer. I fought hard to stay as stoic and strong as I could for the person who was telling me, but as soon as I had a moment of quiet to myself I was in tears. How many times had I meant to call and I hadn’t? How many times had I meant to write a blog about them and I hadn’t? How many times have I just wanted to sit down with them and hear more of their incredible life’s story and I hadn’t? Fortunately there is still time and I’m positive that they’ll kick cancer’s ass something fierce.
While I understand that life is not forever, why is it that I don’t think about that until I’m slapped in the face with that fact? It seems that there should always be a focus on living life to its fullest and focused on what’s most important to me.
The two events yesterday reminded me of that we have only limited time to be us. There’s no guarantee that we’ll have another sunset, another sunrise, or another full moon. While I know that in the back of my head and have come to grips with that fact it is not until I feel the cold hand of the looming specter of death that I pay attention and remember to try to live my life that way.
This blog has helped me to keep my eyes open to more things to be thankful for (my boys are probably totally tired of hearing me say “Look at that beautiful sunset!” by now), but I need to keep an eye out for the more subtle reminders that our lives are not eternal and I need to be sure to live my life accordingly.
As an example, when I see things like this on a hike or while driving I need to soak it in and pause. Today went to work pretty early and I took a hike over lunch. While hiking I saw this tree, strong and seemingly healthy, uprooted and gone. As I walked through the valley there were leaves falling around me like giant snowflakes, their purpose complete and going back to rest on the earth. When I see these types of things I need to take a quick inventory of my life. As Steve Jobs very eloquently put it, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” In those fleeting moments when I just fill my time with nothingness, the stuff that I do because my brain is on cruise control, I need to remember these signs.
Life is too short, too fragile, and often taken for granted. I am thankful for the reminders all around me that help me appreciate all that I have. While some of them may be incredibly painful they are all reminders that I need to put energy and focus into living the life that I want to live. I need to take action and enjoy every single second that I am very fortunate to have.