The Second Half
Today is my last day in Phoenix for a while. After more than a year of waffling back and forth on whether or not to move back to Seattle, I’ve decided to do so. And it feels right.
You see, my son is a junior in high school up there, and I want to be close to him during this crucial time in his life. My hesitation was selfish – I didn’t think I could stand the rain again, but when I think about my son, every other consideration pales in comparison.
What have I learned in my almost 4 years here?
First, you can’t outrun yourself. Wherever you go, there you are. Your face will always look back from any mirror you look into. You can’t go around problems, medicate problems, or run from problems. They will stay with you, and usually grow, until you decide to go straight through them in search of your solution. Not around, or over, or under, but through.
Two, you can’t ever truly know the power of the people who love you until you screw up. I’ve been amazed at the grace and love that has been shown to me, in spite of the messes that I’ve made. My family and friends are the best.
Three, the sun will shine again, if you can wait for it long enough. I’ve been in the depths of despair for too long. The proverbial sun is coming out again. Time does a great job of healing wounds, but only if we’re proactive, as I mentioned above.
Fourth, material possessions can be more of a curse than a blessing. There is nothing wrong with ‘stuff’ per se, but a lot of the things we think we have to have become our masters. Think about how much time you need just to maintain your belongings. Some of it is absolutely necessary, but some of it is a futile waste of time. I was FORCED into this realization by losing everything. I would never have chosen it. But now that I’m here, I would rather have fewer things and actually be able to do more. I would rather hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Canada to Mexico than drive a nice car. Could I have both? Probably. But I want to start being wiser about the choices that I make. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of buying crap we don’t need, or even want, just because ‘everybody does it’.
Fifth, getting older is a good thing. At 44, I’m probably in better physical shape than at any point in my life. We put barriers on ourselves as to what is possible at a given stage of life. At forty, you’re finally getting to the point where you’re getting smart enough to make some great decisions. And you really know what you want out of life, maybe for the first time. So what if you’re not where you wanted to be? You can get there now. Don’t throw in the towel right before things get great.
And last, life is harder than I thought it would be, greater than I ever thought it could be, scarier than the scariest horror movie, as fun as a day at the beach, and worth living to the fullest every day. Some days are amazing, some are absolutely dreadful, but most fall somewhere in between. My attitude is in my control. I can make these ‘in-between’ days tilt toward amazing, or toward dreadful. That is completely up to me. What amazing power is locked up in each of our attitudes. One of my favorite movie lines is from “The Shawshank Redemption”. If you’re struggling with your attitude, I would highly recommend it. In it, the main character, Andy, who has been wrongly accused of murdering his wife, says, “You gotta’ get busy livin’, or get busy dyin’.”
That’s the choice each of us makes every day, whether on purpose, or by default.
Take an inventory of your life. All the hopes, dreams, aspirations, and disappointments, and chart a new course. None of us knows the number of our days. Squeeze every drop of life out of each one.