Lately there have been several people in my life who have been very ill, and more elders are passing to the other side. Mortality has crossed my mind more than a few times. Steve Jobs shared how to thrive:
“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
– Steve Jobs
Looking around at my peers, this is the time when I should be getting ready to rest back and enjoy the fruits of my labors, wait for grandchildren, plan for a few vacations each year. However, I made several choices along the way that place me in what I call the “Late Bloomer” category.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve done a lot of things in my life that have helped me grow, have stretched me, and that I’ve enjoyed. I’ve learned that failures have gemstones hidden in them that sparkle in the pursuit of new goals. My community work, helping people gain clarity in their lives and build their dreams, gathering stories and messages to inspire and empower others — these have brought me much happiness.
But life hasn’t been a straight line. It has been a winding road with lots of rocks to turn over and boulders to get around while building my muscles and gathering resources and clarity. Hard work and perseverance don’t deter me, but nowadays I prefer to find more leveraged ways of doing things whenever possible.
Relationships of all kinds have been the biggest challenge for me, because I have to show up. I’m sure there’s a trail behind me from when I’ve been too afraid to show up, to speak up, and to trust my value. And I gained wisdom from each one: how to be better, what I want (and don’t want), the importance of listening, the value of an open mind and heart, healing through compassion.
I wouldn’t change any of it, truthfully. I just refuse to let obstacles and setbacks get me down for long.
Steve Jobs had it right. Each day we have a choice to make. I ask myself,
Does what I am doing today bring me more of what I desire in life?
Even when I’m not clear on the details of my dreams, I know in my heart and in my body whether or not I’m moving in the right direction, building a life in which I will thrive. And if not, then I’m going in a different direction, and this must be noted. There’s a reason why I’m in this situation, and I’ll know when it’s time for a change.
There have been times in my life when I’ve had to sit on the sidelines while tending to others’ needs. There have been relationships to grow and nurture, knowledge to acquire, new skills to hone, wisdom to gather. In these situations, I’ve learned patience.
Everything in its own time.
Eventually a different choice must be made, and dynamics will shift. Life will begin to flow in a different direction. Change will be inevitable, and it will be time to dust off the wings and fly.