I’ve recently been grappling with making some life changes having found myself at somewhat of a crossroads. It’s so easy to get caught up with the practice of just doing, doing, doing and not take some time to stop and re-evaluate where you are heading. Two events have recently made me want to take another look at the path I’m on.
The first was the untimely death of a friend, just 50 years of age, the mother of two lovely kids, the wife of a kind and thoughtful husband. I’m sure we’ve all had that experience of losing someone close and it making us look straight in the eye our own mortality.
The second event was seeing the progress of another friend as he dealt with his own cancer. A lovely memory I have of him is when he and his family came to our house for lunch on a sunny summer day and afterwards my friend and his five year old daughter lay on their backs on the grass in our garden. There they lay making star shapes on the grass while eating the figs from our trees and laughing together. A more heartwarming scene it was difficult to imagine, just a child and her dad taking time with each other. The dignity with which he is dealing with his illness is truly inspiring.
These little events in life jolt you into thinking deeply about your own path. What is the point of climbing up the ladder of success only to find it is leaning against the wrong wall?
This week I’m in Italy spending time with a good friend from a different part of the world, who grew up in another culture, speaks a different language but who is also at a stage in her life where she is asking a lot of questions. What is striking is how essentially we are all looking for our own version of happiness while at the same time trying to avoid suffering.
Albert Einstein said one should ‘Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.’ In thinking about which road to travel down I am setting down the idea of “success”, whatever that means, and instead concentrating instead on finding joy, passion, love, awesome-ness right now, in this moment.