Saturday, November 6, 2010

lessons learned…..

I’m 52. 

I remember how my parents have always said how life races by.  I think I first heard it when I was 16.  I think my dad had a sore shoulder that day.  He was 52 when he said it.  He’s 89 now.

A lot has happened since that day I first heard my dad say that.  And, of course, I really didn’t understand what he was saying.  I was in high school, needing a bridle to hold me back from getting into whatever life I was going to live.  I was too involved in me to really think about old people stuff.

For some reason, I recently started to think about how those thirty something years have past, what I’ve done and what I didn’t do.  I think it might have something to do with seeing people my age looking old, or sometimes dying.

It’s taken me this long to figure out a few things.  The biggest is that I’m just renting my space here on earth.  You can’t really own anything.  So, to make that the emphasis of your life is really fruitless.  Your life is a collection of experiences and relationships, not a collection of things. 

Eventually, somebody’s going to have to go through all of that stuff and decide how to distribute or dispose of it.  They’re not going to sit there and think what a wonderful guy I was because I had so much, but what I was doing with all of that crap.

Another thing I’ve learned, albeit with a much greater struggle, is that people are going to see things in a different way than I do.  And, that no matter how wrong I think another person is, I won’t be able to change their mind if they don’t want it changed.  This past election cycle only reinforced that.

I’ve set my path on doing things and seeing things and experiencing things.  I’m trying to learn and understand as much as I can.

Professionally, I’ve spent the last five years rethinking how furniture is made, and designing ideas and products that haven’t been done that way before, not Nobel Prize winning stuff, but personally satisfying. 

I’m no longer looking to be important, or be the big guy with the big car and the big house and have my picture taken.  I’ve had all of those things.  And, you know what?  I’m still 52.  I still only wear one pair of pants at a time.  And, a fish fry is still my favorite meal.

Really, my value is my contribution to the people around me.  My value is the ability to help others in whatever way that is. 

So, as I sit here thinking about all of this, I’ve decided my life really should be measured like they measure hockey players, get a plus when you’re on the ice while your team scores, and get a minus when the other team scores, pretty simple.

Those scoring methods were instituted to give credit to all of those who help the team, not just the goal scorers, but the ones who do the dirty work of playing defense and passing, the ones the fans don’t recognize, but the ones who make it possible to win.

Maybe the next thing is learning how to skate.

1 comment:

  1. Hear hear, Tom! The most important thing is just being there for each other. Seemingly small things matter in big ways. Stuff is just stuff. You can't take it with you. But experiences and exchanges resonate forever.