Yesterday afternoon, Karen and me spent the day with her folks.
They’re dealing with some health issues, so having us close by is good for them, and good for Karen.
Karen’s father dug out an old photo album, and we had a good time flipping through the pages.
And I was struck by a photo of Karen and I. Not sure where we were, but we looked… so young.
I don’t feel old. I feel like I did in that photo.
But realistically, I know I’m not the young man I saw staring back at me in that picture.
I’m not one to pine for lost youth. If I had a chance to go back in time, I’m not sure I would.
I know a lot more now than I did then. Sure, there are some good times I’d like to relive. But there are bad things I’d just as soon forget.
So I started thinking about what I might tell “young Jeff” if I could. Things I’ve learned since then (besides don’t wear THAT shirt if you know you’re going to have your picture taken).
Don’t complain. It’s the biggest waste of time. Either do something about it, or accept it and move on.
Be grateful. Say “thank you” often, to more people. For the big things and the small. “Thank you for being there for me,” is one of the more powerful things you can share.
Take the lead. If you find yourself in a situation where everyone is looking at each other and wondering what to do next, it’s time to step up. When do you become a leader? When you decide to become one. (It’s pretty simple.)
Learn every day. You don’t have to have your face in a book each afternoon to pick up something new. Just open your eyes and see what’s happening around you.
Think about others. Everyone has their own struggle. Bills, family issues, who knows? Just be aware that even if you don’t know someone is struggling, they probably are.
Don’t keep score. I’m not saying stand in line for your participation trophy. But giving of yourself is reward enough, not a competition. If you get something in return, great. If not, you’ve still given yourself a great gift.
And finally, don’t take yourself – or anything – too seriously.
At the end of the day, we’re all chasing many of the same things, and facing the same troubles. Life is what you make of it. You can waste so much time worrying about problems that never even materialize.
So laugh at the world around you. Because when you start to pay attention, there’s a lot to amuse you.
Ok, thanks for indulging me. Are there things you wish you KNEW 10 years ago… 20 years ago… or more? Things you’ve learned over the years that a “young you” would have benefitted from?
If so, what are they? And even better, share those gifts with those younger than yourself.
So they don’t have to come up with all this hard learning on their own.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.