Saturday, May 20, 2017

     If you had asked me twenty years ago where I would be today, I never would have guessed the answer. Are you the same person you were twenty years ago? Ten years ago? Five years ago? Where will you be and who will you be ten years from now? At this point in my life, I just hope I’m struttin’ this planet in my 4-inchers healthy and sassy.

     Twenty years ago, I was teaching at a wonderful high school in Michigan under a principal we all admired and respected. Shortly after that, she left and moved to Florida. Eight years later, I retired and moved to North Carolina. We didn’t see each other or have much contact during those years. Maybe a Christmas card, an email, if that. Last night, I sat on her brand new billion-dollar leather couch in her new home, and we talked about choosing light fixtures and the drought we have been experiencing here in Florida where I now live too. We live about 25 minutes from one another. She is married to a different person, and I am still grateful I am married to Mr. Wonderful. She has had a couple of careers before her present one as Vice-President of a real estate firm. She is the age I was when I left Michigan 11 years ago. We share the 25 years we worked together in Michigan, our love of kids, our passion for teaching, our talent in music and our thirst for learning, adventure and purpose. It was a delightful evening of sharing with our guys beside us, laughing as the skies let loose for the first time in months, and we left each other promising another outing over the summer. She is the same high-energy, driven-to-lead person I knew all those years ago. I am the same energizer-Bunny, leader and performer I was then. We mused about how everything changes, but nothing changes.

     How about you? Are you a different person than you were twenty years ago? Will you be a different person ten years from now? None of us knows what is around the corner. As I watch friends of my 40-something daughters fighting for their lives and watch my own friends deal with medical issues, I know there are no guarantees in this life. As scared as I am sometimes, I just tell myself, “You gotta go for it. You can’t worry about what could stop you; you have to keep going so you don’t have time to stop.” 

     A friend told me the other day, “You love to learn. That’s part of why you can’t stop. Learning is your passion..” She’s right. My father taught me early in my life that its’ all about learning—not just book learning, life experience learning, success and failure learning, false start learning and collapse-in-the-ring learning. It’s all part of growing which leads to believing that every day is a gift—another chance to learn something to build our own character or to help someone else. 

    What will you learn today? What will you teach today? How will the results of either affect where you will be 20 years from now?