What a delight it was yesterday to log on to Facebook and find page after page of lovely birthday wishes from friends far and near. The outpouring of kind thoughts was staggering, and reminded me again of the power of social media in our lives today. It also made me stop and reflect on how blessed I am, and to think back to some of the milestone birthdays in my life.
At 20, I was hungry and driven and eager to establish myself; by 30 I was a family man, with all the excitement and responsibility that brings; by 40 I had already experienced a life's worth of personal and professional triumphs and disturbances; at age 50, I was adjusting to a new phase of life after the passing of my wife. Now, at 55, the feeling that defines me most is one of peace. It took 55 years to acquire this wisdom, but I can honestly say I now feel more centered, and more fully alive, than ever.
To all those who sent their greetings, thank you. And to all of you reading this, I offer this gift to you: a reminder to always keep the things that truly matter at the forefront of your mind, because that is the path to true peace and fulfillment.
I know we're always told to remember what's important in life, but how often do we really give it serious thought? To commemorate my 55th birthday I wanted to make my list of the things that are most precious to me and that have brought me this sense of peace. I probably could have listed 55 things, but I boiled it down to ten. I'll share the top five with you here:
- Faith – For guidance and comfort and a sense of perspective, it helps to maintain faith in something bigger than yourself
- Family – More than ever before, I have insisted on reserving time with my family and friends, and I have never regretted a minute of it. I'm truly blessed to have two fine sons, who I am also proud to call my partners, my coaches, and my best friends.
- Health – It's something I never take for granted and I never allow myself to neglect it.
- Laughter – I wouldn't be able to do what I do, at the level and pace I've set, if I couldn't have fun along the way.
- Presence – Distractions and divided attention rob life of its richness. No matter what I'm doing, no matter who I am with – I want to be fully there in the moment.
All five of these are grounded in one common principle that's keeps them at the center of my thoughts: the principle of being the best I can be at what I'm doing – even if I'm doing nothing. No half-measures, no regrets.
Now of course, you don't have to wait until you're 55 to do this exercise – we're all blessed with abundance at all stages of our lives and we all have things that drive us at the deepest levels. We just need to stop and reboot from time to time, so that life doesn't get lost in the rush of daily living. Take some time, make your list, and you'll probably find that most of the things you truly want are right in front of you.