The past year has been difficult for me. It has been a year of loss. At some point, everyone will have a year like this – for me the last 14 months have been hard as I have lost a number of family members – none larger than my dad. I have nothing but great memories of my dad and for that I am thankful.
Below, my mom and dad in the early 80’s.
I have lost other family members this year and loss is hard, no doubt, but I also think there is much to learn.
Over the last year, I think I have become a better, husband, dad and educator. I say “I think” because the only true measure would be to ask my wife, kids and students.
Why I have I grown? Well, through the turmoil, I have learned a lot. What have I learned? Well…I have learned to:
Appreciate What I have
I have taken time to reflect and realize how lucky I am. I had a great relationship with my dad and the only regret I have with his death was wishing I had more time. I have learned to appreciate all that I have. A wonderful wife, kids, network of friends and family that I know will be there whenever called upon. I have a career that challenges me and inspires me and doesn’t feel like “work”
Regardless of your beliefs, I think we can all agree our time here is short. I have tried harder in my relationships. Trying harder means giving more and expecting nothing back. Being there when needed and willing to sacrifice selfish things for others. I know my time is short and I want the people I care about to know how I feel.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
It is almost all small stuff. I try not to let little things get me down and try to see things in perspective. I also have tried being more understanding and forgiving. We all have our faults, so let’s not judge each other based on them. I see each day as a new opportunity to learn and live.
I think the most under-appreciated aspect of developing relationships is our ability or disposition to listen. When we listen with our ears, eyes and heart we can learn more than if we are only focused on words. I have tried to be a better listener and hear what is being said and communicated behind the words.
Live in the Moment
Rather than saving for a rainy day, I am trying to do more with each day I have. I am more willing to spend a little extra or take a risk. I am appreciative of the time I have and want to make the most of it. I
As I said, loss is hard, real hard, but like anything in life is an opportunity to grow and learn. For those who have also had difficult years, I hope you are managing well. Time doesn’t seem to make the feeling of loss go away, but it has allowed me to put things in perspective.