The following was sent to me by fellow grieving dad and friend Steven Stuart. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I can relate with all of these points on some level. I think what we have been through makes us stop and assess our lives; where we have been, where we are and where we are going.
It dawned on me the other day…we adults measure life in such silly ways sometimes. We worry about trivial stuff like keeping up with the “Joneses”, climbing the corporate ladder in order to better support a family we wind up seeing less and less, and just trying to always be number one in everything we do, except in our own lives. We always seem to forget that if we do not take care of ourselves properly, we will never be number one in anything or with anyone because we have neglected ourselves.
It also dawned on me that the simplest things are often the most important. I was looking at pictures of my son Colin that my wife asked me to print. There were 12 to choose from to frame and put around the house, and I thought…”how many pictures of Colin do we actually have, and I counted 96. That moment, two things hit me…we ONLY have 96 pictures of Colin, and we HAVE 96 pictures of Colin. It was just that measuring a life in less than 100 pictures made me realize that I needed to adjust how I measured my life and where I want to go with it from this day forward, and that is in the most positive direction I can.
Below is some food for thought…hopefully #6 will resonant more than the other 5 combined.
1. Chronological Age
The most common measurement of life is chronological age, and people can become famous simply by living long enough.
2. Material Wealth
Although not many will openly admit to this, many people measure success by the size of their house, their car, their paychecks, and their bank accounts.
There are many whose lives were brief and yet made a huge impact on the world and the world remembers them for who they were and what they did.
Some homes are filled with family photographs as a powerful reminder that you have created a family. For some, this is their life work – to raise a child, to leave behind a family when you’re gone. When you speak to the dying, you know that they find great comfort in knowing that although they will soon be no more, they have left something behind that will outlive them.
5. Personal Creed
You can decide your own measure of success in a personal creed and live by this every day of your life. I strongly recommend this as we are all created different and are on earth to fulfill our individual purpose. Your life has a meaning that no other life has, and you alone can decide what living well means for you.
6. Transcend Measurement
There are two ways to think about life – as an obligation, or as pure gift. If you regard life as an obligation, like a job where you are put in a certain position to perform a certain function, you will need to measure how well you are performing.
Life as pure gift does not need to be measured at all. It just is. You just are. You could do nothing with your life and it would still mean something, because you existed and that is good enough. In philosophical terms, existence is not a means but an end in itself. “I AM” is the only meaning there is.
Of course, one of life’s paradoxes is that it can be a bit of both. It is a gift, but we also want to use this gift in a meaningful way. Each day you wake up and find yourself alive is a gift, but you can also choose to make that day count. Whatever measure you choose, live well, and your life, and the life of your child, will mean something.