You only live once!
Updated: Jan 9, 2019
I don't know about you, but May seems to always be one of the busiest months of the year. This year was no exception, in fact, it was probably the busiest. The first weekend of May, our oldest daughter graduated from college. What an exciting and proud moment for all of us. Two weeks later, we left on a 10 day trip to Ireland to meet up with our middle daughter, who had been studying abroad for the semester. The whole family was able to go, which was wonderful. We enjoyed sightseeing as well as relaxing in many of the local pubs. There are times like that when I wonder how wrong the American's have it with our work/life balance. This past weekend my son graduated from high school, had his graduation party, and two days later we went to his college orientation and registration. In addition, our daughter who graduated college, started her first "real" job this past week, she bought a car, and we moved our middle daughter back to Stevens Point for the summer, where she's taking classes and working. Needless to say, life has been a little crazy around our house.
As I finished up the last of the big events, at least that I'm aware of, I began to reflect on many things. First, life happens and we are getting older every day. Now, this isn't a bad thing, but it does cause one to think about the time that has passed and the time that is ahead. My parents, who are both 79, were at my son's graduation and graduation party. My mother has gone through two bouts of colon cancer and has come through with a clean bill of health after both. However, it hasn't come without a cost to her overall health and mobility. On the other end of that spectrum, I see my children growing up, making their own decisions, and maturing in so many ways. My oldest sees life as a pretty clear map. She doesn't have a lot of uncertainty about what she sees in her future. My middle daughter, on the other hand, sees life as an adventure to embrace. She's wanting to experience life to the fullest. My son, however, is still very uncertain about who and what he wants to be and, overall, what life looks like past this summer. Although he is attending college in the fall, what his future holds is very much an unknown.
The second thing I've reflected on is, we only have one life. I never quite appreciated my grandmother when she would say, the years go by fast, don't wish them away. Today, however, I completely understand the truth of that statement. How you live your life is a collection of the people you meet, the things that you do, and the values and morals you live by. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say, I wish I had more time for "x". I bet most of you wouldn't say that your "x" is work, but rather family, friends, travel, etc. It's when we "really" spend time with the people most important in our lives, does our life slow down for just a little while. Not because time is any slower, but because we live in the moment. That is one thing I've tried to do more of. Listen more attentively. Be "present."
We can't roll back the clock, we can't change the rate at which time goes by, but we can make sure that we are "present" for the family and friends that are an important part of our journey. I know this a tangent from my normal business and strategy related articles, but sometimes, the relevance of taking a step back and reflecting can put us in a much better place to not only be better business people, but better husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends.
"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough."
- Mae West
Jayne McQuillan, CPA, MBA, CEPA is a strategic management consultant, and the owner of Journey Consulting, LLC, in Green Bay