One of the blessings of getting older is that life slows down a lot, and the need for you to tend to every small detail for all the people you are responsible for and too, pretty much ends. Your kids are grown up and don’t need/want your advice, you no longer have a company hounding you for that deadline, and the general public thinks you just need a pat on the hand and an “aww isn’t she cute” once in awhile.
You get a lot of time to sit and look. You think.
Were we this obsessed with having everything? Probably. But our wants were not so much about fame and things way beyond our life probabilities, they were more about things that allowed us to be part of the average and edging to better. We surprised ourselves by surpassing that at times, but most of us breathed evenly when we were holding our own. In the end, we can say we did OK. We know that other did much better and others did not even come close. We did OK.
Now it seems to be about being the winner, the best, the one that gets to rub everyone else’s face in it. If a friend has a $30,000.00, wedding, yours has to be $45,000.00 and instead of establishing status quo with your peers, it is a process of leap frogging. Meaning, you have made your life an endless treadmill. There will never be a point where you just sit back and enjoy it.
So many of the things that seemed so large, so important, so worthy of our time and emotions . . . are nothing now. Truth is, we have difficulty even remembering the details. And it leaves us feeling really foolish when we consider we can access what we told ourselves about the event but the reasoning behind it has not stood the test of time. Perhaps we put more stock in our own words than we should have. Perhaps the real problem was that not only did we struggle with understanding that people are not perfect, we did not like admitting we were ever wrong. Whatever sweet victory we felt by telling ourselves that lie, has long since disappeared.
We see couples who spend all day fighting. They don’t do anything together, they are never happy, and we wonder why marriage is still held as some sort of holy grail that we should still be trying to breathe life into it when it has sucked both parties completely dry of all oxygen and blood. The destination is not all that matters in life. Achieving, arriving, are moments that are meant to put the cap on the journey. But the journey … ahh . . . the journey is everything. Human beings deserve awesome, epic, mind-blowing journeys. They deserve relationships that take them on that kind of journey.
I want, so often, to gather my own kids and tell them “enough.” Just be. Love. Let other people love you. Spend time together. Learn other people’s stories. Breathe in and out. Stretch. Learn and grow. Share your heart, share your joys, share your burdens. Let the rest of the world run on, chasing after empty promises. Everything you need is right here, in you, in this moment. You will never feel as much joy, or peace, or power as you will if you simply stop.
If you can just stop trying to be like everyone else, better than everyone else, and just figure out who you are . . . you will find that peace, that happiness, that sense of owning your life. And trust me, it will be so much more than you even know you are capable of.
Stop running after things, stop fighting with everyone else, stop fighting with yourself. Make time for each other. Make time for your kids. Just let them be kids and forget about using them as props for the photos you post on Facebook, or as reflecting pools intended to better show off YOU.
Because in the end, no-one cares that you had a big wedding – not even you. No one likes you more or less because of the clothes you wore, the car you drove, or the house you lived in. No-one picks you because you were “Salesman of the Month” for an entire year in 2004. Someone else’s video just went viral. Some other friend just became a millionaire, and the world has flowed to you and through you, and is leaving you behind. What may have mattered to the world for all of a nanosecond about you . . . is gone. You are left with you. And you no longer are able to outrun yourself.
It is just you.
And the truth of what your life was and is, and what it wasn’t and isn’t, parks itself permanently in your mind . Everything in the world around you reflects those choices back to you. And the most epic parts of it are not the winning and the money and the fights you won. The most epic parts, the one that feed you and hold you together now are only those that were about the love and the moments where you took the time to actually show up and live them.