Learning to Love a Half-Empty Glass
I visited my father again last weekend. When you have a parent who is in the last stages of life, you can’t help but reflect on the greater meanings of things. You think about where you are in the journey of life and what you have learned. My dad continues to teach me new lessons, and as I looked around at him and his fellow patients in the extended care ward, I started to think again about how we measure our time and the significance of how we fill it. I started thinking about the term “value of time” in a new way.
I have always prided myself on being an optimistic, forward-thinking person—a “glass-half-full” kind of guy. Now I have come to look at my glass as also half-empty. And that is great.
I have come to realize that seeing your glass as half-empty doesn’t have to be a negative thing. On the contrary, as I get older and contemplate the time I have left, I see that half-empty glass as being full of opportunity. At this stage of my life I have more choices than ever about how to fill it. I get to choose the work I am going to do and the people I am going to surround myself with. I get to decide which books to read and which mentors to follow. I am at a time in life where I am rich in possibilities. An empty space has never looked so good.
My advice is if you what to contemplate where you are in life in a positive way, is to be thankful every day for everything you have that keeps your glass half-full, and to be excited about the part that is half-empty. Because that’s where you get to determine your future today by focusing on the things that bring meaning to your life and fill your mind, heart and soul.
The beauty of life is that a glass like that never really gets full. The more I fill that empty space with the things that enrich me, the greater the vessel becomes and the more choices I continue to create. In that way, the best we can hope for is that our glass is always half-empty. Because the true optimist sees that emptiness for what it is: a reserved space for an incredible future.