Erik Morse (HR extraordinaire) shared this sentiment with his team this week. I thought it merited a broader audience.
Erik’s prefacing thoughts:
A friend sent this essay (below) to me recently and I haven’t been able to shake it. It really hit home to me and resonated on many levels. I try to live in the present, but sometimes that gets away from me and I feel like I’m chasing something or telling myself that “when this happens, everything will be great” and “as soon as I am _______, then I will be content.” In reality though, I am currently living out so many things that actually completed those sentences 5 years ago and I am filling in those blanks and those things I used to tell myself have happened. I think you guys all know that I used to be a heavy smoker and lead an overall unhealthy lifestyle. There are times when I ride with my bike team and I cannot even form a full sentence to talk to someone next to me even though it seems as if they could whistle Dixie and recite the Declaration of Independence without gasping and I slip into regret that I started my new lifestyle so late and that I can never take back my decisions I made earlier in life and I know that all the work I put in is only good enough to try to catch up and never to get ahead. But the me at that moment is the strongest me I have ever been, and I’m proud to be living better than I could have known I would be 6 years and 5 months ago when I quit smoking. What I am given the opportunity to accomplish and experience professionally eclipses my expectations from just 3 years ago because my perspective on what I was capable of achieving was based only on what I had experienced. The challenges of parenting and the deep-rooted love that accompanies every second of it cannot be felt until it is present, and although embracing a stubborn, screaming, irrational child is one of the hardest things to do in the moment, it also reminds me that my worst times as a father are exponentially better than my best times as anything else. Although I am very excited to see how incredible everything that surrounds me and is inside me is in another 5 years, I constantly focus on why everything that makes me present is so sublime. Please read this very short essay, and thank you all for being a part of why my journey inspires me.
By Robert J. Hastings
TUCKED AWAY in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We’re traveling by train and, from the windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of row upon row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skylines and village halls.
But uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination–for at a certain hour and on a given day, our train will finally pull into the station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.
“Yes, when we reach the station, that will be it!” we promise ourselves. “When we’re
eighteen. . . win that promotion. . . put the last kid through college. . . buy that 450SL
Mercedes-Benz. . . have a nest egg for retirement!”
From that day on we will all live happily ever after.
Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no station in this life, no one earthly
place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The station is an illusion–it
constantly outdistances us. Yesterday’s a memory, tomorrow’s a dream. Yesterday belongs to a history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday’s a fading sunset, tomorrow’s a faint sunrise. Only today is there light enough to love and live.
So, gently close the door on yesterday and throw the key away. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad, but rather regret over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.
“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24, “This is
the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more
mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot oftener. Eat more ice cream. Ride more BIKES. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.