Sometimes I think that’s all this part of life is…pre-school for the soul. Our time, here…it’s over in a blink, relatively speaking. I think we are supposed to learn the little things: be nice, share, get along, love each other, forgive each other, do what’s right, try…you know, pre-school stuff. We are like little kids, full of questions about things we don’t understand and making up the answers. I don’t think we are supposed to worry about the big picture. I think if we get the little things right, we will be well prepared for what’s next. Oh, and by the way…pre-school is supposed to be fun!
Archive for October, 2009
I’m in the Reno area for a funeral. I headed over to the Enterprise booth to pick up my car and had a mood altering experience. The very nice young woman who set me up in my car is by far the best employee they have in the entire company. Well, at least that’s the impression she made on me. She didn’t just make the process a pleasure but she also carefully gave me directions to my hotel, including a map. She seemed to love her job and certainly made me excited about my little car. It left me smiling, and thinking…wow, now how hard was that? I was in a great mood the rest of the day because of this one competent, caring interaction with a total stranger. I think we could all learn a lesson from this young woman. Our attitude impacts the people we interact with more than we often recognize. Imagine if we always tried to make a difference. Positive interactions with random people can have a ripple effect extending far beyond our reach. We may be 6 degrees of separation from knowing any one person in the world but I thiink we are just one degree of separation from making a difference.
I think that’s the reality. Life isn’t supposed to be fair and once we stop expecting it to be, we can focus on navigating through the challenges. We are not in control of what life throws at us but we are absolutely in control of how we respond.
I was exposed to this idea as a young adult but it didn’t really sink in. My dad had weathered a series of “unfair” events in his business, roadblocks so to speak, caused by the carelessness of others. He was always undeterred, always moving forward until a catastrophe forced him to sell out. I remember the night he explained the situation to my mother. She said to him, “God, Wayne, that is so unfair.” To which he responded, “No one ever said life is supposed to be fair. It will make us better people.” To that she replied, “I don’t want to be better people.” I understood her sentiment. But they had no choice, and my dad set a new direction…again becoming very successful.
He was incredibly happy throughout his life and I think much of that had to do with his expectations. He didn’t expect much from the world so when the world treated him well, it was a bonus. He did expect a lot from himself but he had control over that. It’s only now, in my 50s that I get it.
Life isn’t supposed to be fair. Once you figure that out, the rest is easy.
At my daughter’s commencement address the speaker said, “You should dream as if you’ll live forever, but live as if you will die tomorrow.” That quote weighs on my mind today, as I have lost yet another friend this year. A long time friend from Nevada just died of colon cancer…age 55. My neighbor, same age, just lost her battle with lukemia. No, life isn’t fair and there are no guarantees; so while we are planning for retirement, we had better love the life we are living. Another reason to take contol of the wheel and live the life you really want to live, right? If it’s any consolation, my friend from Nevada lived a huge life….generous, kind, hard working but hard playing…he was loved and he will be missed!!
Ya, I am a novice. I’m playing with this idea…quietly. There’s so much to learn about setting up the blog site and customizing it. It will be a while before I make any announcement. If you find this somehow, you can help me along. I’m 52, divorced again, and I think I’m better than I’ve ever been in life…ever. It’s amazing how hind sight gives us so much perspective. It’s also amazing to me how hard it really is to look objectively at who we are in the world and learn the important lessons.
I love the driving analogy: You are (as long as you are breathing) traveling down the road of life. Let’s say, for fun, that you’re in a car. The question is whether or not YOU are doing the driving. You could be a passenger, letting someone else drive…just managing what comes your way. Actually, I think you could even be in the back seat, basically clueless about the direction you are headed. I think I spent most of my life behind the wheel driving, but I was going in whatever direction my passengers wanted to travel. New passengers meant a new direction. And trust me, each time, I headed down the road with confidence…mostly because it made people happy. I didn’t think very often about where I wanted to travel..I was happy if they were happy. Maybe I really wasn’t driving…Maybe I was just steering. Anyway, that’s the first thought: Who’s driving? And are you traveling down the right road?