Recently I celebrated a milestone in my life – I turned 50. For many, this number has a variety of meanings, but for me it was a wake-up call to connect with those I know and love. During the year leading up to my 50th birthday, I had gone through many different experiences from losing my dad to switching jobs and leaving that job, to seeing my children finish elementary school. It was quite the turbulent and challenging year that led to new growth and insight. One thing that I realized is that you can’t live in the future nor can you live in the past, but you need to enjoy those moments you have with your friends and family.
We all live very busy lives with schedules that are filled beyond capacity. Somehow each day and week we carry out the many activities, work responsibilities, and family obligations as we run through the craziness we call life. I believe sometimes we get lost in that routine and we just go through the motions. We check in on our parents, see how sons and daughters are doing, and call friends, along with many other things we do. As I went through this past year I realized a couple of things.
The first thing is that a job does not dictate who we are and how we live. Many of us get so caught up in the title that we forget the little things that make us who we are. Over the course of this past year I spent a good deal of time reflecting on my life and the people who made me who I am. Identity doesn’t come from my career connection, it comes from who I am and the way I live my life every day.
The second thing that I learned during this past year is that you need to celebrate every moment. We have a short window in our lives where we can touch and connect with others, but sometimes life gets in the way. Take a moment today and every day trying to be present. It can be hard at first because you’re thinking about all the things you are doing, will have to do – or that you didn’t do. But trust me, it’s worth it! I’m finding ways each day to take in the small miracles that happen every day and appreciate life in new ways.
For instance, I recently had the opportunity to be present with those close in my life. I had family and friends come over for a party where I got a chance to speak to each one of them and enjoy their company over the course of a couple hours. We all laughed, ate and had a great time together. It was my honor and my privilege to have them come to our house and share a moment in my life. I’ll always remember, treasure and be grateful for that experience.
The last thing I want to share is that we are all at different places in our lives, but the best way you can be present and connected is to focus on the moment you are in. Breathe and soak in the moment by noticing the little things and listening to those around you. The best opportunities in life only happen once. Be yourself – laugh, love and don’t worry about the five minutes ahead of you. My challenge to each of you is to see how many present moments you can have each day.
I believe you’ll see and experience life in a whole new way.