First day back from vacation is always a killer. After having reality suspended to enjoy life in out-of-the-ordinary ways, it’s tough to re-acclimate to the mundane. But it’s the perfect time to reflect on just what, exactly, do you want out of life?
There’s a somewhat well-known fable of the fisherman. The super abbreviated version of it is that this young vacationing entrepreneur sees a local man come in from a morning of fishing. Impressed with the guy’s haul, he asks him how long it took for him to catch it. The guy says not long, it’s all he needs to take care of his family, and he now goes home and plays with his kids, enjoys his wife’s company—you get the idea. The young businessman suggests to the guy that he should build a business that grows so big he can ultimately retire—and—do exactly what the guy is doing now…enjoying life, playing with his kids…yada yada. It’s a great prompt to get you thinking about how you are spending your days.
This past week, while I was on vacation and hanging out on the beach, I ran into an older gentleman who was fishing in the ocean. We had a nice talk (have you ever noticed that along with asking someone about their dog, asking someone who’s fishing if they’re catching anything is a terrific conversation starter?) Talking with him reminded me of that fisherman parable. This was a guy who walked to the beach from his condo a few hundred feet away, tossed his line in the waves, and hoped to catch dinner. My imagination ran with him then going home, cleaning his catch if he caught any, maybe popping a cold one and watching a ballgame or taking a snooze, and then looking forward to cooking a great meal later that evening.
Just like the fisherman, my vision of this gentleman was of someone who was enjoying the simple things in life. And it got me wondering…do I have anything going on in my life that is like that fisherman? Or am I just hoping that one day I’ll get there like the gentleman I met?
I personally know several people who worked their butts off for most of their lives so that they could retire in style—only to die shortly after retiring and miss out on all of their “someday.”
This past weekend a high school acquaintance died in a horrible accident. Gone much too soon. My heart aches for his family. It is a stinging reminder that we are guaranteed nothing—including “someday.”
Is your end game eclipsing the now?
Do you have an end game? Is your “now game” focused primarily on getting you “there”? Or are you prioritizing the now, too? What really matters to you? Are you seeking that in your everyday or are you just trying to get through the day to do it all over again tomorrow?
Obviously, I’m thinking of my answers to these questions, too. As someone on the verge of completing her first half century, I know I’m not living the life of that fisherman. I think few of us are achieving such simplicity (and such joy) in our everyday. And while that may be unrealistic in the literal take on the story, isn’t it possible to strive for it at least in part? Can’t we clear away some of the clutter of our lives in order to see and appreciate our “now” more clearly? I hear myself answering like Elf, with a hardy, “…then YES!”
End-game goals are important, but if we march through our “now” in trying to achieve them, we just may miss the only “someday” that we have. So here’s to striving for deep focus so that we can keep the now and end games in our sites and aim for both of them every day.