What is really important in life?
It seems to me that we have created an unnatural definition of what is important, what brings us happiness and what defines success. What makes us look successful to others, often times isn't what brings us contentment and happiness inside. Yet we are driven to make sure that we keep what we have, and to keep on the road that we believe will get us more.
Why? Why do we spend our most precious resource, our time, on things that are so meaningless in the big scheme of life.
There is no doubt that we must be able to provide for ourselves and our loved ones. We must eat and keep a roof over our heads. But what else do we really need when the basics are taken care of? And how much is enough? Does having more money, stuff, bring greater happiness? Is there more joy in the wanting and anticipation of something, or the having? For quite some time now my belief has been simpler is better - the more I have - the more I have to lose.
Yet we all live in fear of losing what we have. So much fear that we worried and fret, allow it to steal our peace of mind and to divert our time and energy to it, instead of to what is really important to us.
Often times when I feel I am not on my life's purpose and want to switch direction - people close to me will often become fearful. Not only do I have my own fear, of losing what I have to contend with, I have to contend with other people interjecting their own fear on my behalf. I can't tell you how many times I have allowed others to discourage me. The questions of, what will you do, where will you live, how will you support yourself, all well intended.... but don't they think that I have already thought of those same questions? Is it not alright to just have faith in myself and God and know that I will land on my feet in the end? Am I stupid? No. Am I crazy? No. Am I wanting to take some risks to make sure that my life is lived with passion and allow myself to do things my way, not just follow the path that everyone else wants for me....? Yes. I want to experience life, I want my life to be an adventure, and I want to be bold and brave and I want to die with few regrets.
Sometimes I think the illusion of control is our greatest problem. We go about our daily lives with our schedules and to-do lists, watching the clock, planning ahead like we know what the next hour, minute or second will bring. We accomplish things, create wealth, have stuff, and believe that there will be a tomorrow, a next year, etc... However, despite our denial and best efforts to delude ourselves, deep down inside we know we are not in control and try to hide this fact from ourselves. I believe that this is one of the hardest things to accept. Nowhere is this more apparent than when we are faced with a loved one becoming ill, or a tragic accident occurring. Who's in control now? Why did this happen? What could have been done differently?
Fact is that no one escape death. Doesn't matter who you are, doesn't matter how rich or famous you are - it has never helped anyone dodge the bullet... Princess Diana, Michael Jackson... death is still as real, even though the personality and bank account maybe larger than life.
A couple of experiences lately have brought this concept to the fore front of my thoughts again. It reminds me that life is short, and the only things we truly ever have is this moment, right now. It's ok to plan for the future, but don't do so to the extent that you miss today. Don't let your worries of tomorrow, steal you of the joy that is here today. Remember that no matter where you are in life, there will always be those that have less, and those that have more... and they have the same worries and concerns that you do.
I read a commencement address made by Steve Jobs today - and his message I think was an important one, I hope that you will have the opportunity to read it. Here's the link: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html
Take care - and remember - Life is what is happening today, while we are planning for the future.
RIP: David Linnemeier