No one imagines that a symphony is supposed to improve as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them. -Alan Watts, philosopher, writer, and speaker (1915-1973)
Time, they say, is the great equalizer. Each day we re-start the clock, and no matter how poor or wealthy we are, we get the same 1,440 minutes to work within. They go by without any controls on our part. What we control is how we spend our effort and our energy, not how we spend our time.
People use the phrase “spend time” regularly, but they are spending themselves. Investing, if they do it well. Investing themselves in their families, their work, their interests, and hopefully in their health. If you don’t make that investment, many of the rest won’t matter for long.
I’d like to think of myself as a lifelong learner. I’ve had careers in engineering, manufacturing operations, training and development, and human resources. I’ve been a husband, dad, soccer coach, basketball coach, tee ball coach, and an enthusiastic spectator of football games, dance recitals, music recitals, and plays.
I have, at different times in my life, tried my hand at community theatre, woodworking, gardening, cross-country skiing, computer programming, writing, photography, singing, running, guitar, and piano. I excelled at none but enjoyed them all.
So what have the last 1, 827 days included? A lot, it occurs to me. Much of it included an opportunity to grow.
- We downsized, with our two oldest married now and our youngest finishing college. I saw many co-workers lose their jobs and they weren’t prepared. We were not living beyond our means, but our house was beyond our needs and required a dis-proportionate amount of our time.
- At the same time, I had some great assignments at work and learned more about change management than I knew five years ago.
- My youngest graduated high school. When he went to college, my wife got a dog. The next day.
- I learned a lot about Type I Diabetes through my son’s development of this disease.
- We travelled much more. Buenos Aires, Maui, New York City, Charleston, Hilton Head, Cozumel, Savannah, Las Vegas, Destin.
- I have spent far more time with my camera than my guitar. Sort of a creative trade-off.
- I learned about blogging at a very basic level and tried it here and here and of course at The HR Introvert.
- I learned that there were networks outside of work that I could enjoy and benefit from without having to pretend to be an extrovert. That I didn’t need to join an association or club to gain access to all kinds of learning and talented professionals. HREvolution, The HR Happy Hour, Drive Thru HR and all the amazing people I have met via these programs, and through the participants’ blogs and tweets have really broadened my understanding of community of practice and made me better at my work.
- I got to officiate at my older son’s wedding, just as I had done for his sister.
- I learned recently that I will become a grandparent this summer.
- I lost weight, found it, and then lost some of it again. I learned I need to keep my running plan up.
My forecast for the next 5? More learning at work and with the online communities, another graduation, more pictures than before, more travel and time with my best friend in the world (we hit 25 years this summer), maybe more music, but no more found weight.
And maybe I’ll come to like the dog.