Saturday, July 30, 2011

What Is Really Important?

One of the reasons I like to be on vacation is that there are few expectations of me. Whenever I am at work I must be here, do that, explain this, or meet a variety of other expectations. Some expectations seem clear and others do not. Many expectations seem realistic while a few do not. At the end of the day I understand the words of Abraham Lincoln who said, “You can please all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time”. Of course, expectations are not only part of the workplace. Everyone has expectations of us in every area of our lives. It is one of life’s great challenges to please others because it is difficult to be all things to all people. I like to believe that I am doing the best I can, whether it’s at work or at home, to meet the reasonable expectations of others. I also like to believe that everyone else is doing the same. This attitude helps be to be kind to myself and tolerant of others.

Earlier this week my wife and son had something to do together so guess who took care of my granddaughter? She had come home earlier that day from the daycare and was a little under the weather. I asked her if she would like to watch a movie so she picked “A Christmas Story”. I’m not sure I’ve ever watched that in July before. It was refreshing to see all the snow on such a hot day. This is one of my favorite Christmas movies because it reminds me very much of my childhood. I love spending time with my granddaughter. She always brings me back to reality. When I am with her I can forget my troubles and live in her world for a while. Like many parents and grandparents I look at the world we live in and wonder what the future holds for the younger generation. I wonder what kind of woman my granddaughter will grow up to be. I wonder how much of her life I will be here to see. Selfishly, I would like her to stay seven years old forever. Alas, neither of us can stop time. All we can do is enjoy the moment and try not to shoot our eye out!

As you go through your day do you ever wonder and ask yourself “What is really important”? In my experience today’s crisis is tomorrow’s bump in the road. Today’s obsession is tomorrow’s low priority. I know I sometimes obsess over things. The reality of what’s really important is sometimes clouded by my own dysfunctional behavior. As I go through my day I must evaluate what is truly important, what battles should be fought, what ideas should be pursued, and what personal obsessions should be let go. I want to focus my life and my energy on important things. Of course, important things are in the eye of the beholder. My mountain is someone else’s molehill and vice versa. So much of our conflict is because we see and evaluate life’s activities and demands differently. There is one thing, however, that my experience tells me is of supreme importance. It is love and for me this love is manifested through kindness and compassion towards all people. It is not just for family and friends. It’s for everyone I encounter. I am not na├»ve. At times this is very challenging and I don’t always accomplish it. Occasionally I encounter people who are difficult to like. However, I try to practice what I preach and to do it will everyone I encounter. Perhaps I can’t change the entire world but I can change myself. At the end of the day, and perhaps at the end of life, this is what is truly important.

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