From a recent post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow.” (Toni Morrison)
Jack went on to write – Most of us are at that point in life where there’s more sand in the bottom of life’s hour glass than there is in the top. The sand that is left represents the tomorrows that we have. The truth is that every choice we make today…what we eat, what we read, the friends we pick, etc…affects our future. The tomorrow we will have depends on our today. 😉 Jack
We tend towards the poignant when talking about yesterdays and hopeful when looking towards our tomorrows. Jack’s comments about where the sands are in your life’s hourglass take on more meaning and a sense of urgency when you begin to notice that most of the sand that you are likely to have in life is already at the bottom of the hourglass. Unfortunately life does not allow a do-over by turning the hourglass upside-down; however, if one keeps looking ahead with a sense of anticipation and excitement, rather than spending time looking back over the past, what sand in left at the top can be rewarding and satisfying.
Assuming that life has not taken such a toll on your body that you can no longer function, the period at the end of most people’s lives is a time when they finally have the freedom to find the joy of volunteerism and service to others. There are some many opportunities for service in every community, that it is really not that hard to keep one’s self busy with meaningful and rewarding volunteer work. It has been my personal experience that volunteering for the jobs that no one wants to do can be the personally satisfying, but maybe that’s just me.
I volunteer to do the set up and clean up or wash the dishes or be a food server at our church Lent Soup Supper every year. In many of our local Chamber of Commerce events there are always people doing things like collecting trash or manning street barricades or setting up and tearing down tents or tables and chairs. Those aren’t the glamour jobs and those behind-the-scenes workers are seldom shown in the publicity pictures that make the paper; however the event could not take place without them toiling away somewhere out of sight. Doing those jobs well and without worrying about getting credit or publicity for them can be very satisfactory because it is a pure act of service.
Not all tomorrows will involve volunteerism and service; in fact most won’t; however, all tomorrows do provide opportunities to meet new people, try new things and accumulate new knowledge. Many people find the freedom to travel to be very rewarding later in life. Some people finally get around to taking up hobbies or getting back to those that they never had time for earlier in life. An interesting side benefit of being a little more mature is that you are better able to understand and properly categorize and integrate new knowledge into the knowledge base that you have been accumulating all of your life. For many, the sense of wonder at new things is superseded by a sense of appreciation for them, because you now see more clearly how things fit together and make sense.
Jack’s advice about the choices that we make today affecting what our tomorrows may look like has certainly proven to be the case for many athletes, especially football players. Those who choose to play with reckless abandon, those who heeded the coaches admonition to shake off the cobwebs of a hard hit and get back in the game and those who “played through the pain” are now hobbled or worse and many wish that they had listened to the messages that their bodies were trying to tell them at the time to slow down or stop. Those who commit crimes, especially those who commit them to be able to buy drugs today are mortgaging their futures for a short bit of pleasure or relief today. Even ordinary people, who put off the things that they know they need to do, or avoid people whom they know that they need to confront, or make time commitment decisions that put success at work above family; know in their hearts that they are putting their futures at risk. Tomorrow does not get any better because you avoided things today.
When you are young you think that there will always be a tomorrow and time to make things better or right sometime in the future. When you are old, you hope that there is a tomorrow and do what you can to make today as great as it can be today, knowing that if you do what’s right today, tomorrow will take care of itself. Perhaps we need a little more of that type of thinking at all stages in life. What will your tomorrows bring? No one can say for sure; but, do what’s right today and you’ll at least be able to look forward to tomorrow.
Have a great today and I’ll see you back here tomorrow.