Ziplining in the Smokey Mountains

Life is a Business – Chapter 33

A series of essays on the past, the present, and the future

Life is something that the ultimate destination is not somewhere any of us wish to be – dead.  What we yearn for is a great and joyous quality of life while we can still enjoy it and look out over the fields of our successes. We wake up with wonderment and excitement as little children, for each and every day is a new adventure, with lots of things to learn and experience…plus, Mom might give us ice cream!

We maintain a lot of optimism about life and respect for most all of our friends and neighbors all the way through high school, then, we all become great philosophers while in college. Upon graduation, we see ourselves as the next great inventor, teacher, writer, businessperson, doctor, scientist or lawyer (politician trainee).

Once we start dealing with the realities of adult life and the strains of family, work and social responsibilities, we begin to lose the idealism and optimism we had as youths. This is the exact point that individuals and young couples either transform into strong, focused adults or fall apart and start on a path to being very unhappy, unfulfilled, middle aged pessimists. It all begins with unrealistic expectations, then, a lack of commitment and tenacity to fight through life’s obstacles. Fight or Flight the psychologists say…you get to choose all by yourself…Momma and Daddy can’t do your homework anymore. This is not fun being a young adult any longer…”I want to go back and get my Masters degree…how many times have you heard that?

We all harbor thoughts of going back into the womb, a place of warm peace and comfort where we had no responsibilities, only sweet dreams…unless Mom ate spicy foods and gave us indigestion! It’s O.K. and quite normal to long for days gone by-but remember the “good old days” weren’t perfect either. Take up your life as a challenging sporting event that we’ll call running a “Full Contact Marathon” event that lasts for decades. Just like those ultra-marathon athletes, you must find joy in getting out of bed and back into the race. They accept the pain and hardship just to say they finished the race upright…winning a ribbon is just icing on the cake.

Enjoy the journey while you are in the midst of it; savor both the victories and defeats; take pride in your healed wounds and scars – they are silent testament to the fact that you were actually in the game and participated. As you get older and past the point of raising a family and can enjoy what Jan and I have in great grown children with great spouses and “perfect” grandchildren, it all becomes crystal clear and the bad days melt away with just one smiling grandchild climbing up into your lap.

Don’t wait for grandchildren to find this joy-do it with your own children! They are the vessels that hold all your hopes, dreams and aspirations. You have already achieved your greatest triumph…all else in life is just the price to play, that we all must pay. My greatest regret is being too ambitious and busy to spend enough quality time with my children…if you still have time, don’t make the same mistake.

Look forward to, and back upon a meaningful, fulfilling life; enjoy the journey every step of the way, without regrets. You will find the true treasures are not fame and fortune, but friends and family.

You may love money, but it can never love you back.

By Bill Hewgley