“It doesn’t bother me to grow another year older. What bothers me, is not having much to show for it.” I said this to someone recently. Instantly, I thought of how a very good friend of mine turned 34 a few months ago and was feeling much of what I am feeling now. Soon, I will be hitting 33.
It’s not the age. I realize that I’m still young. It’s just that since I set my life goals years ago, much has happened. Straight paths became curved, boulders randomly fell blocking my way and avalanches forced me down into valleys. But, I must remember that along the way there have also been mountains climbed and peaks conquered.
In life, it is so easy to focus on the boulders, rugged paths and valleys, that we often forget about the mountains. That’s because it is in those difficult times, when we learn our most valuable lessons. However, that doesn’t mean that the mountains are any less important. In fact, they are more important.
What we accomplish in life is much grander than what we do not. I may not be a nurse, which is what I always planned to be. I may not have a second child, as I had planned years ago. Nor do I have a house with bay windows and a wrap around porch in the country…yet. Okay, that dream in still alive. But, I have been given so much in this life and have so much to be thankful for.
As a matter of fact, my step-dad who recently passed away, showed me this very thing in a dream a couple of weeks ago. (Do I always believe that dreams hold a message? No. But, I believe this one did.) He sat our family down in a circle around him. Once we were all seated, he pulled out a picture of a beautiful farmstead with a barn near the back, stables on the left and a corral on the right.
In my dream, I knew that this picture represented family, love and togetherness. As we looked at the picture he told us, “You see this picture I’m holding? This is what life is all about. You have all wasted so much time on things that don’t matter. This right here – this is what really matters in life.” I awoke from the dream with tears in my eyes, missing him and knowing that he was right.
You see, this life is not about money, houses or careers. Sure, all of those are nice to have and some are rather necessary. But, those things are not what makes our lives important. What really matters in life is who we are, who we’ve loved and who’s loved us. It’s about friendships, family and memories that are made along the way. It’s about laughter, tears and resting in the comfort of someone’s arms.
There is so much more to this life than what we see on the surface. The life that truly matters is the one that is unseen. It’s the life of the heart. The life that we share with others.
I may be turning another year older soon and I may not have all I had planned to have by this age. But, through that dream I was reminded that I do have what matters most and for that I am thankful.
Lesson: No matter how old you become, be thankful for each year that you are given. For it is one more year to live, to laugh and to love.