On Monday I had no idea what I would be doing for July 4th, 2018. As I was watching Steve Jobs make a graduation address at Stanford University on YouTube I was struck by his statement "Whatever you do today, do it as if it was the last day of your life". At that instant, I decided to visit my daughter some 500 miles away. I made calls and before I knew it, I was packing Tuesday morning and heading out.
My life seems to have run in seasons based mostly on where I was at. In my early childhood years we lived on the North side of my hometown and I attended specific schools and so when I think of that home or that school I remember a set of people I knew then and those experiences come to mind. Later we moved to the South side of town and that era is also remembered by where I was. Then we moved several more times during my teen years and each place brings back certain people and experiences. Then I went into the Navy and got quite a bit of travel in and those places have their associated memories. Then college, Then my first house married, then my time at Microsoft and the various houses we lived in and then my retirement and so on.
It's strange. So many memories lie with my hometown but if I went there to visit today, not a sole I know would be there. Only buildings I lived or moved in and even some of them may be gone by now. Those things come to mind when I drive by an old fading barn or shack in the country. Who lived there? How many memories are associated with that place?
As I drove to the Seattle area and passed various places, memories associated with those places flooded my mind and those relationships, long gone now, and really impossible to recapture, come to mind.
I find myself wondering "what if" on the choices I made in the past. Every relationship we have is either developing or fading and much of it depends on our choices. Who do I visit today? Who do I not visit today?
I had a great time with my daughter and grand-daughter on the 4th but was unable to share with my daughter the thoughts I was having - these are not things kids want to hear from their parents.
As I imagine the ideal times of each relationship associated with each location a sadness envelops me because I am remembering the best of each relationship and noting the fact that those days are gone and I can never recapture what I had then.
As age creeps up on you, especially with the loss of financial power one used to have, you begin to realize how little control you have over your life. All you can do is make the best of today and make the best choices you can see from where you are at. As experience begins to teach you, you realize that the outcomes of your plans may not at all turn out as expected. Things and money are mere distractions.
These are the moments I must simply enjoy now.
Don't let bitterness enter your heart! It really doesn't matter if you were right. The hurts you cause compound and grow with time in a way you can't realize at the moment you caused them. But grace and forgiveness washes everything like this away. It's like kissing an owee. Apologies are worth making.
Life can have a lot of regrets and forgiving yourself is necessary too, or the owee never goes away. I think of lectures I'd like to give to those that have caused even the death of a loved one by their unforgiveness - but I realize this will not fix anything. What will fix more things than most is just forgiveness and humility.