By Gary W Moore
The opening lyrics to Simon and Garfunkel’s hit song, Feeling Groovy, are “Slow down, you move too fast.” Lately, I’ve found this to be sound advice.
Arlene and I built three homes and an office building in our life together. We enjoyed each experience and wouldn’t trade the time we spent together in creating these homes and spaces.
Today, I’m sitting in my daughter and son-in-law’s kitchen. It’s beautiful … a work of art. The cabinets are white. The light fixtures are large clear globes. The floors are white marble.
As I sit here watching my daughter clean the globes, I said, “Are you sure you want these? They’ll be a nightmare to keep clean.”
“You say that about everything lately. You walk through our new home pointing out how much work or money it’s going to be to maintain,” she responded.
I was embarrassed and surprised by my comments, but she’s right. I didn’t realize how much time and experience has changed me. I don’t think I’m being negative, but practical.
In the past, maintenance, whether in time or expense never crossed my mind. We liked what we liked and created our visions of home and workspace together. My daughters’ new kitchen is gorgeous, but all I’ve been seeing is how much work it will be to keep it clean. When did I change … and why?
I’ve decided I only want to spend my time left on earth in four areas.
- I want to spend more time talking with and listening to God.
- I want to be with my family and close friends.
- I want to focus on writing this column and my new books, and,
- I want to chase Arlene around the house.
Anything else isn’t important and takes my time and attention away from what is.
I don’t want to clean the house, mow the grass, or shovel the snow. I’ve spent the last forty plus years maintaining homes and spent the last twenty-six years working in and for an even larger home and forty acres … and for what? All it did was burn my time, energy, and resources, while keeping me from doing things that are more important and fulfilling. I now have clarity. I see what is important in my life and that’s where my focus should be.
Time changes our priorities. I can remember my foolishness in believing my choices of automobile and size of home was representative of how important I was or how happy I could be. I couldn’t have been more wrong. If I could go back and live my life again with my priorities of today, I believe I’d been a better employer, husband, and parent. I believe I’d live life with less stress. Maybe I wouldn’t have cancer.
And I’ve slowed down. Not because of age or health, but because I see life differently. Energy is in shorter supply today and it forces me to think of the most useful way to spend it. And when I’m in a hurry, so much of life passes as a blur. I don’t want to miss the important things as they pass. And besides, speeding is getting to the end as fast as you can. The end is not someplace I’m in a hurry to be.
When we are young, we believe we are immortal. The things we have … time, money, loved ones, a good job, good health … we assume we’ll have forever. Yet in a blink of an eye, one or all of what we have can be gone. As time passes, we learn how fragile life is. It changes our perspective and fine tunes our focus. Time and experience teach us that the possessions in life that we eagerly collect on our search for meaning, are meaningless.
What will we leave behind? For Arlene and me, it’s great children and grandchildren with their priorities in order. Are they all there yet? Of course not. They have not lived enough life yet, but I’m confident the building blocks are there to help them.
For me, I’ll leave behind my written words. Some will disappear as wasted gibberish, while others may hang around as useful life lessons. I hope something I’ve shared will help others live an optimistic and happier life.
And this may surprise you, but I find that I am grateful for cancer. There is nothing like facing the end to sharpen your senses and realize what is important and what is not.
For me, Faith, family (and dear friends), and legacy are what’s important. Anything else is a distraction.
Are your priorities in line?
What’s important to you?
Submitted by Gary W. Moore, a freelance columnist, speaker, and author of three books, including the award-winning, critically acclaimed, “Playing with the Enemy.” Follow Gary on Twitter @GaryWMoore721 and at www.garywmoore.com