Make tomorrow better today…

February 20, 2016

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

ID-1009082

“Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

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 sewrving soupchurch 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 brain mapnever 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 awomen dreaming 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.


Three little words – grow through life –

May 22, 2014

lToday’s three little words post was actually inspired by a longer saying:

“Don’t go through life, grow through life.”  – Eric Butterworth

It’s oh so easy to fall into a pattern of just going through life. One can easily fall into routines and find a comfort zone that required little growth mentally and emotionally. I believe that this leads to people getting prematurely “old”. They may not be old in years, but they’ve become stagnant and old in their outlook on life and they act like it. Their answer to “How’s it going?” is always, “Same ole, same, ole.” They become boring to know and to be around, because they never try new things. Even worse is that, left unchecked or unchallenged, this behavior becomes a self-reinforcing spiral into old age and withering away. Avoid that fate by committing to grow through life.

Do you know people like that? Are you becoming a person like that? Maybe yo already are a person like that. How do you escape this trap? The key it is be committed to growing throughout your life, not just going through life. people with booksThat continuous growth can take many forms. One of the easiest is to remain committed to learning new things. That doesn’t have to mean taking classes in a school all of the time; it can be as simple as committing to reading books and magazines and newspapers and Internet Blogs to keep up with what is happening around you. What is happening around the world right now? What is happening in the U.S. that might affect you? How about in your state or your town; what’s happening locally? Now that you know about more of these things, what are you doing about it? Once you commit to continued learning you are committed to grow through life.

Growing also means doing. People who are doing more than just mailing it in with their lives are usually busy people. They are out volunteering at church or with community groups. These are the people who make things happen, who run the local events in your community. They collect food and raise funds. They serve the homeless tutoringand protect the weak and abused. They build houses on the weekends. They tutor and mentor at-risk kids.These are the people that you wonder how they can do it all; all the while they are wonder how you can see the same needs and not do something. They aren’t just out there working; they have committed to grow through life.

A wonderful and reinforcing side-effect of all of the education efforts and work and service that these people do is that it brings them in contact with so many others who are also committed to growing. They meet a diverse cross-section of life and have experiences that broaden their perspective on things. They begin to understand other cultures and races better through a shared commitment to serving others. They grow emotionally and intellectually because of those experiences. They do not settle into a dull routine; they just don’t have time for that. Ask them and they’ll tell you that they can’t imagine not doing what they are doing, because volunteer builderthey have committed to grow through life.

So, you have a choice. Do you settle in where you are in life and stop learning or participating in the community activities that are around you; or, do you grab a new chuck of life every day, every week, every month and never stop learning, never stop moving, never stop helping. When you are gone will people really miss you because they knew that you’d always be there to help; or, will they hardly miss you, because they couldn’t remember that you were still alive. You will always be alive in people’s minds when you commit not to just go through life, but to grow through life.