On this Memorial Day weekend I plan to relax, reflect and hang out in my yard enjoying the flowers. Sometimes we are so caught up on getting somewhere that we don't appreciate the journey. Obsessed with achieving a goal, we don't take time to appreciate the the fruits of our labor thus far. This time of year I make a point before I leave for work and when I come home, to walk around the yard, smell the flowers and marvel at life's miracles.
In Another Lifetime I used to have a "real" job. I worked in the offices of a billion dollar corporation. (Not as impressive as it sounds). Every quarter we would have a "briefing". More like a giant pep rally. I vividly remember one of these Quarterly Briefings. After the reports of company performance and awards were handed out, we had a surprise visit from the founder and CEO.
O & A
Our great, wise leader took the podium and made a short speech. When he was done, we were told there would now be a question and answer session. A hush fell over the crowd. It appeared that we had an entire organization of mutes. After an uncomfortable silence there finally was a "softball" question followed by another one.
" Any more questions?"
... more silence
yet another awkward moment or two.
Finally a gal with a big, booming voice stood up with another query. This gentleman, a college drop-out, had started the company with $5,000 and a big idea. After lots of hard work, and a bit of luck, he was now a successful billionaire.
"....... Do you ever stop and look back in awe on what you have created?"
Our founder furrowed his brow and thought for a moment. He stammered a bit and finally answered.
" I never thought about this before. No one has ever asked me that. Hmmm...I guess my philosophy is that if you stop to smell the roses, you'll get run over by a bus."
I remember shaking my head, thinking how sad that must be, for someone to have achieved so much and not take the time to enjoy his success.
Five or Six Years Later
I had left my job to start my own, very small, business. I was tired, felt stifled and needed a break from the corporate world. A few years into my venture, I was interviewed for a fluff piece by a writer for a local business journal. Midway into the interview, the reporter asked " What is your greatest accomplishment?" I hesitated. "...Something you are most proud of?". While it was a pretty standard question, I did not have an answer. I thought back to the comment about getting "run over by a bus".
I finally understood what this successful businessman had meant. I was so busy trying to grow a business and comparing myself to others, I was never satisfied with my efforts. I kept setting the bar higher and higher as I achieved my benchmarks. I was never where I wanted to be.
Moral of the Story
I have noticed the same phenomenon applies to blogging and life in general. We get so caught up in trying to keep up with others, we sometimes spend more time worrying about what we don't have rather than appreciate what we do have.
As I sit in my backyard, I take in the sweet smells of suburbia; the intoxicating odors of gardens and barbecues. The sounds of birds chirping, lawn mowers humming and children playing create a joyful symphony for my ears. I am taking time to be grateful for what I have. I also owe a huge amount of gratitude to the men and women who have given their lives for our country, to protect the freedoms that we take for granted.
This weekend I am taking extra care to smell the roses. And give thanks to those who made it possible.