“Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold. All that you need is in your soul. And you can do this, oh baby, if you try. All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied….” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
I think if you do anything long enough you begin to question, is this what I was put on this earth to do? Is there something I could possibly be doing that is more rewarding or important than what I’m doing now? I have struggled with these questions over the last year. I believe you are always only one idea away from transforming your life. Recently we made a choice, we downsized our house. In a world where all anybody wants is more of everything, we decided to simplify our lives. I work in the heart of capitalism, Wall St., where ego and the eternal drive for more boats, more cars, more homes is an incessant game where there is no real end. So you can imagine the looks I got when I told people what we were doing. In retrospect it wasn’t only a good decision, it was a great decision. It has given me pause to reflect on where I’ve been, where I am and where I’m going. I needed to start valuing the joys of this world and not solely the things in it.
Where have I been? I grew up in a town only 300 miles north of New York City, but it might as well have been another world. I went to public school, I always worked, we never had a new car, we vacationed at the local beach, we rarely went out to eat, we had one bathroom. I shared a bedroom with my brother until I left for college and you know what, it was awesome. Sure it was hard, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. My mom worked three jobs, money was tight, but we always found time to laugh together, we loved one another and it was all very, what’s the word? Real! My family, much like my close friends, never ask why we haven’t seen each other for so long, or why haven’t you called, we just pick up wherever it is we left off and laugh again. That, is success. That is what I want my daughters to appreciate. If I can teach them how to have true friendships, show them what the bonds and traditions of family are, the values of hardwork, loyalty, how to be respectful of others, to know how to love and be loved then I will have succeeded.
Where am I? I’m not saying you need to lead a life of poverty or given the chance you shouldn’t travel the world or collect the toys, but I think I the key is finding balance in our lives. Take it from a guy who has spent his whole adult life thinking that his career was who he was. I have finally found that the job is just a part of your life, it doesn’t define you. Too many of us dread the day we may lose our job and what would happen to us. I’m a firm believer that things work out they way they are supposed to, no matter how much we may disagree with it at the time. I have learned that it’s not the end goal of what you attain in your life , but the person you become in the process of attaining those goals. It’s not easy to let go of what Madison Ave. constantly reminds us that we have to have, but if you simplify your life I believe you can do more with less. Give more time to charities, spend more time watching sunrises and sunsets, laugh more, play more, love more, and enjoy your kids more than you already do.
Where am I going? I have thought deeply about how I want to be remembered and what kind of person they will say I was. In the words of Jim Rohn, ” Live your life as an example, not as a warning.” I think that is as important as it gets. I will leave you with an old saying:
“I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
And be a simple kind of man….