Hang on, this is going to be philosophical!
On my flight today, I was listening to music on my Nano, while working my way cross-country. Suddenly, I started paying attention to one of my favorite artists, rather than having the song drone in the background of my mind.
The song is by James Taylor, and goes back more than a few years – “The Secret of Life”. Perhaps you know the song and the words, too? The words go, “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.” It hit me today that this might actually be true – OK, perhaps not THE secret of life, but certainly A secret of life.
In fact, we live our lives in a hurry, and often don’t enjoy the passage of time. I have often been known to say in my business life, “time is not our friend.” I certainly must admit that there are a number of things that I could easily do when younger that I now don’t do anymore, or certainly not as well. Most professional athletic careers are over no later than the mid-thirties. As we age, our recall starts to get a little fuzzier. We lose some people that mean a lot to us. Most of us don’t look as good (at least not as good as we fantasized ourselves looking) when younger.
But the flip side is that there are a lot of things I now know, or have experienced and learned from, that I would not want to go back in time for, even trading out some of those things I imagined I could do or be when younger. I don’t get rattled easily. My temper is better controlled. I don’t have to be right. Helping others provides significant meaning. Titles and positions don’t impress me much. I don’t care how many fish I catch when fly-fishing. I enjoy our grandkids in some ways more than I enjoyed our own kids at similar ages. I can tell a good story.
There are lyrics to another song that this thought brings to mind, a country-western classic, “I ain’t as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was!”
What would change for each of us if we really believed and internalized that the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time? Because if we are blessed to have a long life, the passage of time is inevitable, and enjoying it may be the only thing we can truly control.
Craig Norris is the President and CEO of Chiliad.