Sunday musings 12/30/12
1) Living vs. existing. Your choice.
2) Newbies. They’re coming. The Newbies. All of the New Year’s resolutionaries will arrive in a couple of days. Be prepared.
3) Emergency. “The first thing you should do in an emergency is take your own pulse.”
4) Daisy chain. I am flying from one winter wonderland to another so the first thing I did this morning (before shoveling Grambingo’s driveway) was check the status of my flight. There, in little tiny print, was a place to click to check on the actual plane I would be taking, to see how my little aluminum birdie was faring on its way to pick me up in Providence.
I don’t really fly all that much, just a bit for my consulting/speaking gig. The thought of checking not only my flight status but also my “equipment status” just never dawned on me, a truly silly thought if you are a true road warrior. In order to take me from Providence to Cleveland this particular plane started last night in Indianapolis, went to Louisville, then Chicago, to Cleveland (go figure), and will alight at PVD ~30 minutes before I depart. All of this happens today.
It’s a wonder any of us gets any place on time. Ever.
5) GPS. Lunch was on my grad school roommate yesterday. A couple of 52 year old guys, both washed up jocks in mid-career, fathers and husbands, still the sons of two parents. I’m in RI to help my folks with some medical issues so the first topic we almost-old guys covered was aging parents and their various and sundry ailments. Not a lot of good news for either of us to share, unfortunately. Next up was kids–good news all around.
My friend then offered a question that he answered first: are you where you thought you’d be now, at 52? A question about expectations, dreams or goals fulfilled or still floating just out of reach. We’d both had much early success in our lives, and if we are honest with ourselves (and others) we pretty much assumed that the pattern would persist, that we would just continue on a never-ending upward slope of successes built one upon the other.
Right. About that.
B. had been outmaneuvered by corporate and took a big financial blow in 2011. He’s more than a little bitter about it. The new reality is forcing him to examine pretty much every aspect of his life and prioritize them. While he is making the absolute, spot on correct choices as he does this, he is increasingly unhappy (bordering on angry)–he didn’t think he’d find himself here, at this time, at 52.
How about me? Hah…no way am I where I thought I’d be at 52! Here’s the rub, though: for everything I DON’T have, every box on the ledger unchecked, there are at least TWO things I DO have, one of which I had no idea would be so important, would make me so happy. Indeed, while what you could call my traditional or standard expectations have not been met by a long shot (I’ll be a working stiff until I’m 70, for example), those things that have exceeded my expectations have been such a pleasant surprise that I kinda feel like I’m, you know, winning. As surprising as this has been to me, everyone who’s known me as a young man finds this just short of not believable.
So, how about you? Where are you right now? Are the GPS coordinates of life lined up with the destination you thought you programmed? The important thing, obviously, is not so much where you are, or even where you think you should be, but what you see from your location. Expectations are funny things. When they feel more like goals they motivate us to move; when they fell more like burdens they drag like the proverbial anchor. Whether met or unmet expectations are part of the human existence.
How you feel about them when you arrive might determine whether you are living or existing.
I’ll see you next week…
Posted by bingo at December 30, 2012 7:04 AM
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