Framing our life On this magnificent Wednesday, with the sun shining bright and the crisp spring air begging to be breathed, I began to feel alive. Winter has a way of beating you down and holding you captive; a prisoner to many things fun and enjoyable. Many of us hibernate during the winter months because of the frigid cold temperatures, finding it hard to be motivated to get out and do much. Let’s not forget about the wonderful seasonal affected disorder (SAD) which affects 2-3% of Canadian each year...
It was on this glorious spring-like Wednesday morning that I came to a rather startling realization: it’s ok to feel lost and found at the same time. It’s ok that I don’t need to have complete clarity and certainty of what my future holds. It’s ok that I don’t have an architectural blueprint in front of me to know where point B is, never mind how I’m going to get ‘there’.
There are days when unexpected events knock us off guard and leave us wondering who we truly are and what we’re doing with our lives (and if it’s what we’re meant to be doing). Today was one of those days... I discovered today that I’m not the only one searching for the next chapter, the next stage, a new beginning. I’m sure we’ve all wondered at some point how we ended up where we are and if it’s what we had anticipated 10 years earlier. One of the many benefits of being human is our ability to change, grow and adapt. Yet somehow as we get older we often get laden with responsibilities, resist change and reduce our potential for growth.
Admittedly, the past few months have been about self discovery, soul searching and digging deep for answers that have been intriguing me for the past while. I’ve been reviewing my life purpose, my journey and determining if it brings me fulfillment and happiness. Lots of unanswered questions still remain and probably always will but one consistency remains, the need for living in the moment and living for today. It’s so easy to live in the past or the future and forget about today and the very moment...
Knowing that the best laid plans often end up not working out it’s a good plan of attack to focus on today and not feel threatened by the future; tomorrow, next week, next year. It’s good to have future goals (many successful people draft 5 year plans) but at the end of the day, tomorrow is never that fantastic if we don’t make it there. As a guy in my (gasp) mid-thirties, the realization of age, getting older and what society projects for me feels overwhelming at times. I would think that by 34 years old I’d have it all figured out; would know what I want to do when I ‘grow up’ and where I’d end up but truthfully I don’t and that’s OK.
The past few months I have discovered that it’s ok not to know what tomorrow holds or where the finish line is. Today that theory was further supported by a girl with a camera. In only a very brief time she was able to lend some clarity and insights, making it feel ok to be a little lost. Sometimes we should delve a little deeper asking ourselves “how we got here” and if we like who and what we’ve become on the journey. Life is short: Everyday should be filled with doing what we love most with people we care most about. This has been illustrated most clearly with my friend Shaun and his recent fight to overcome testicular cancer. It’s become all too familiar living in Toronto to push ourselves, working ourselves silly to buy a big house, to eat at the newest restaurants, drive a fancy car, and wear the most fashionable clothing; and admittedly, I’m guilty as charged. At the end of the day, once our profession all the material things are stripped away, many of us stand naked without a shred of who we are or how we became that person.
Being apart of Shaun’s battle against cancer has taught me a few things about life, humility and mortality. Life’s precious and even though we might have all the ‘stuff’ that society tells us we should, there truly is nothing like having a life to live. Having cancer touch someone close to you shows you how at risk you are and how life is to be savoured because we’re all susceptible.
On this spring-like day it became very apparent to me that each day we must build memories and capture them in our mind or on camera. One day we’ll want to look back and cherish all the things that we’ve experienced and those we’ve experienced them with. I’m grateful today for my friend Shaun and what his experience has taught me. Life is short; it’s ok if we don’t know what the future holds and what the next chapter looks like. What’s important is that we live each day to its fullest and embrace those around us for who they are and what we can learn from them: whether it’s a close friend who’s fighting cancer or a girl with a camera.