I have just passed yet another birthday, seems like they come around every year and not just that it also seems like they are getting closer together. It wasn’t a landmark birthday, I didn’t reach the half century mark, but let’s just say I am right on the doorstep of it. I’ve never been a big one for actually celebrating the day that I was born, I mean I was pretty passive in the whole day, so really it should be my mother who should be celebrating the most to be honest!
But on this day, and as I get bombarded with messages and photos of me in my nappy, it is a time for reflection. Not really just to look back at a year just gone, another one that has flowed under the bridge, but at my successes and failures in my first 49 years. “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards,” as the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard once wisely wrote.
But more importantly to be grateful for what I have. My wife reminded me just last week of what it means to be grateful for what you have. I won’t go into the circumstances, but it made me and her, take a long hard look at our lives and to realise what is really important and what is just fluff. Our most precious commodities are not our smartphones, 3D TVs, brand new cars, or even our big and impressive houses. Our most precious commodities can’t be found at the bank. They can’t be ordered online. The truth is, they are on a very short list. And it is a list of course headed by health. You go pretty much go without everything else but the one thing you can’t live without, literally, is health. Family, friends, love, freedom and peace all come a joint second place to health.
And I should have added time. Time is one of the things that Dubrovnik has brought me, although even that is getting more and more tight. We all have the same number of hours in our day. Why do some of us run around, constantly stressed, complaining we “don’t have time,” while others seem to approach life in a relaxed and happy state but still get plenty done? Though we all have responsibilities and obligations, this often comes down to choices. Many of us make poor exchanges on our time on a daily basis. Each time we say yes to something, we are effectively saying no to something else. The problem is, we often say yes to too much. This is where a balance starts to tip. That’s when time gets short. Time is a finite resource; once spent, it’s gone. We can’t get time back but we can be selective and intentional with the time we have. Those are the thoughts that have been bouncing around my head since my birthday. Time is flying and stops for no man.
Finding time for the little things in life, really the things that matter, is vital. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And as Christmas is just around the corner now is the time to cherish the little things in life. Find someone who really needs help and donate them your time. Stay focued on what really matters. Be with your family, laugh until you can’t laugh anymore, love until you drop and enjoy your festive holiday with the people you care for the most. As my most favourite politician of all time, Winston Churchill, once famously said “Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.”