It’s so easy to get distracted. There is always something vying for my attention. I know you feel the same, especially this time of year. If there is one refrain I hear, and I catch myself saying it too, it’s “We’re so busy.” And it’s true – we are. There is a demand put on us just about every second of the day from our family, our clients or jobs, social obligations, media marketers and electronic devices. I spend a lot of time the last month or so of the year trying to say “thank you” to my friends and clients and if you remember my posts from the last few Thanksgivings, gratitude plays an important part of how I view the world. This year I thought I would ask a question of you that was asked of me when I needed it.
Most of the time we ask or get asked “how’s it going” or “how are you” and the ingrained social contract that we have with each other allows us to get off the hook with pretty standard answers like “we’re really busy” or “things are good, but we are really busy”… You know the answers, you and I give them every day. During a conversation with a friend of mine, he refocused my somewhat frenetic brain with one question. “What’s good?” It turns out that most of the things that ARE good in our lives tend to be the people and choices that are the most important to us. I’ve been fixated on this question so much this year that it is on a sticky note in my office next to my computer. I look at it 15 or 20 times a day (I also have a sticky note that says ‘do 100 extra push-ups a day’ – being completely honest, I am not holding up that particular missive). Every time I look at it, I think about my wife, our kids, my mom and my childhood, my clients, that I love my profession, that I married into an incredible family, my love for music, friendships that span a few years or twenty and thirty years or more, the oversized reading list that I have, and that my parents instilled a love of learning in me. There is so much is good in my life.
I’m going to speculate that when we say ‘we’re busy’ what we really mean is ‘I’m stressed out because I am losing touch with the people and relationships that are the most important to me.’ That’s not to say our calendars aren’t full of things that are important to us. Both can be true – we can spend time with people we love and still not be in the moment with them because of outside stresses. I wish I had some simple solutions or guidelines. To paraphrase Prince, we are gathered together to get through this thing called life and what may work for you may not work for me. I know that I don’t give myself nearly as much grace as I should. I also know that when I have been vulnerable with my friends, I am reminded that we are all carrying burdens and often times, sharing our stories helps lighten everyone’s load.
If you’ve made it this far, this is where I say ‘thank you’. I am profoundly grateful for our friendship and support. The next time we see each other, I’m going to ask “What’s Good?” I sincerely hope we get the chance to do so soon.
All the best,