It is amazing that another 10 years has slipped by, and even though I write very few checks anymore and do most of my business online, I find myself still putting the wrong dates on those checks I do write on occasion.
A great friend of mine who I will always consider one of my best friends, regardless of our age difference, always cautioned me that as I got older how quickly time would pass me by, and those words continue to vibrate within me today.
When I moved to Marco some 30 years ago, I acquired some wonderful friends, many of them worked on the beach in one capacity or another. Some I would serve in different organizations such as Rotary, the Board of Directors of the YMCA, the Marco Island Police Foundation, the Marco Island Seafood Festival, the Trees are Cool Committee that raised private monies to place trees around Veterans Community Park, the Veterans Community Park Visioning Committee, the Marco Island Fire/Rescue Foundation as a founding member, The Veterans Memorial Design Committee and its original fundraising committee, in addition to a number other city advisory committee over the years and of course Christmas Island Style.
I’ve sadly had to say my goodbye to a number of those folks I’ve met along the way as they’ve passed from us to a greater reward. From each of them I’ve learned some very valuable lessons in life. I’ve learned that life is tough and to succeed in it we must employ many of those lessons taken away from others.
I learned early on in life not to take it for granted. It was a life lesson I would learn while watching my dad slip from us all too early in life, as he would only live until the age of 45 and I at 16. I do wonder how much more he could have accomplished and what would have been different in my life and that of my family’s. I’ll never know, but it will always gnaw at the back of my mind.
When you’re in your twenties, we think we are invincible and there is plenty of time to get things done. Nothing could be further from the truth, for as we grow older, many of those things we would seek to do in our twenties had already slipped out of our grasp as we moved into our thirties.
I’ve also learned that nothing worthwhile in our lives comes easy. Everything worth having is worth working hard for. In my opinion, we have a much great appreciation for those things you have earned, rather than having them dropped at your feet. Unfortunately, we may be creating generations that expect more and more to be handed down to them and the work ethic of the past may be lost as well as our drive for excellence.
The old Latin adage “Carpe Diem,” or “Seize the Day.” is another important phrase that we should all continue to take stock in. Simply put, it means we should never hesitate to grasp opportunities because of being too timid or lacking courage. We must always believe in ourselves and move forward in life, for failure to do so may doom us to failure in life itself.
We must always seek to feed our minds with as much knowledge as possible, for it will be the fuel that propels our success. We should never be satisfied with knowing just enough to get along, but to push the boundaries of our understandings of life and its meanings. We and our children are destined for great things, as long as we push ourselves to accomplish more than what we are simply comfortable with.
Can you imagine if we had not had the encouragement of a young and vibrant President Kennedy that encouraged us to push our boundaries and go to the moon in the early 60s?
“Not because it was easy, but because it was hard,” as Kennedy said.
As we prepare to close the chapter on this last year and enter into a new decade I won’t bore you with silly resolutions, but instead, I thought I’d just speak to some of those things that run through my mind as I think about this milestone, as we open a new decade in our lives and the possibilities that lay before us.
I can’t help but think about all the accomplishments that have been made in the past while thinking about the future that stands before us. Whether it be in medicine, communications, transportation and other great achievements that may lay ahead.
The America of today was built upon the accomplishments of the many that have come before us. Had they failed to reach beyond what was comfortable, we may have never been blessed with all we take for granted today. Let us continue to push ourselves to the next level while showing our appreciation for those that came before us and their dedication to reaching beyond their comfort zone. That is the greatest New Year’s Resolution we could make.