So I’m doing something this week that I have not done in all the years I’ve owned my business and written this blog- I’m taking the week off. Really off. Like closing the office “off”. My assistant is on her honeymoon and the world seems to be busy finishing up summer and getting ready for fall and the new school year and so it’s the perfect time to take five days to myself to just relax before a crazy busy fall for me too. And so this week I’ll be posting some of my favorite posts from over the seven years (!!!) I’ve been blogging. There’s a lot to sort through, but I do have some real personal favorites. To start off, this was a post from September 2011- the first from Andrew. I re-read it last night and just really loved it. He’s such a gem.
Andrew and our niece Kate in 2011
Erin asked me if I would write a blog post that was similar to one of my Tony Robbins-ish “things are going to fine, stop crying, you need to think more of yourself, it’s going to be ok, seriously, stop crying” speeches I unleash on her about once a month.
Finally I get to be on her blog. Sweet.
My most recent rant to her was about perspective. Side note: these “speeches” are usually just a verbal outpouring of the internal struggles (and solutions) I have with myself. I get just as much out of saying them as she gets from hearing them…probably more. To provide a little background, I was laid-off about 2 months ago. Not the greatest feeling in the world, but I was prepared for it…the writing was on the wall…and to be honest I wasn’t that far away from putting in my notice.
The internal struggle I had was what to do next. I had been working with some former colleagues on a start-up which I was really excited about. I was also putting a toe in the water in several other, apparently more stable options. At the end of the day I was fortunate enough to have a choice. I went with the start-up. Here is why:
10, 20, 30, years from now…or more…I am going to reflect on my life. I tried to put myself at that point and ask what will I think. I was going to regret not going with the start-up. It was clear. Granted, that didn’t make the choice any less scary, but I knew what I needed to do.
I continued to think about the “Future Me” and what I would think of the present me. And Future Me had a bit of advice. He said that we are living in a home, eating applesauce, wearing diapers and all I have are my memories. Don’t screw them up. Spend time with your friends and family, because those are my favorite memories. Stop spending so much time on the little stuff, you can barely remember that anyway. Travel more, you will love Africa. Take a few chances, but not too many that you look like a moron (and you are approaching that level so be careful). Enjoy your successes and indulgences, you will see that guilt is a waste of time. Do things for others without the need for acknowledgment or reciprocation (you will get both in spades anyway). Be happy for others who are more fortunate than you, help those that aren’t, respect both equally. Do things you normally wouldn’t do every so often, those are some fun memories. It is okay to cook and do the dishes, but make sure you say thank you when someone does for you. When you get here (the future) you don’t want to have settled.
Smart guy. I hear he is handsome too.
We could all benefit from calling our Future Me’s every once in a while. We need that reality check of how most of this won’t matter even a few months from now, much less years. We need to live a little more for the moment.
That doesn’t mean go crazy. It doesn’t mean bounce your last check (ahem! parents and in-laws). It doesn’t mean shun stability and responsibility. It doesn’t mean pack up your shit and move to Nepal. It means to do things you will be happy to look back on. That may mean taking the stable job for some, or going with the start-up for others or even leaving it all behind and going to Nepal for a few. Life isn’t black and white. There is no need for you to be stable or reckless…you can be somewhere in-between. You don’t have to married by 28. You don’t need to have kids before you are 35. You don’t need to have your career all set by the time you are 40. Life is different for everyone and very few of us live up to the expectations we set for ourselves or other set for us (and those that do probably feel unfilled in some way). Take life as it comes, change it as you go, and stop worrying about where you are now…just enjoy that you are here and moving forward. It takes some people a few years, others a life time. We all get there.
You are a fluid and ever-changing person who is at times scared, happy, sad, bored, worried and excited. Perfect…that’s how you are supposed to be. Think about the future, think about what you want to look back on, and then stop thinking about the future so much. Re-live the good times in the past. Learn from the bad ones and move on…they are not you anymore. Forget the really bad ones. They serve no purpose anymore. Realize that life is both what you make of it, but more importantly how you want to approach it. You can get bogged down with your own shit or you cannot. The choice is yours.