If there were ever a time of year for a little bit of self-reflection, the bitter cold and darkness of February may just provide the appropriate setting to do so. It seems, the days never get warmer and the random slices of sunlight only provide for a small hint of hope that spring may eventually come. I’ve never been a huge fan of winter except when I was a little boy a million and one years ago. Back then, life was just so different.
Lately, for a number of reasons, the memories of my past have unwittingly forced images into my random mind spaces. As everyone else does, we try to create a way to sift through the good and the not so good images from our back catalog when this occurs. It is almost as though we prioritize small chunks of our life journey into one long full-length play. Quite possibly, this is the way it is going to appear to be for me now. As my next birthday in April becomes more apparent, so too do the memories of a life well-lived make themselves known more often.
The memories of life from a man just over a half a century old, now offer hope, wisdom, experience, pain, heartbreak, sympathy, compassion, empathy, and forgiveness. We all have offerings, each unique to our own life journey. My perspective is rich in my mind, hoping to be shared in a way that might afford others to see things differently should they open their hearts to doing so. To see things differently, as I have been forced over the last twenty years to do. Perspective certainly is a powerful thing, it evolves within each of us regularly, and without indication of such.
This week for some reason, the storytelling in my mind seems to display a journey more of incredulity and less of one lived by a man seeking support or comfort from others. In fact, it is rare for me to seek the latter but typical for me to use the positive visual frames to hopefully inspire and provide some small modicum of hope to those who struggle currently.
What is curious though, is the frequency in which my own life story has been making itself apparent to me. Normally I flashback a few times in a month, lately it is every day. I am not completely sure why, but rather than dismiss the flashbacks I have decided to embrace them for what they are; my own emotional timeline. Am I simply feeling mortal, maybe? I don’t have an answer to that question, as I just let them flow as they might.
While preparing a speech for an upcoming speaking engagement, I have been forced to reconsider many stories previously written over the years. Some of which haven’t been dusted off for a very long time. It’s funny though how the words and music of a particular song can instantly bring us back, so too can the various visual memories of life be quickly recounted in almost record time. The only thing preventing us from doing so is our own willingness to bring them forward. For many, perhaps too painful to even consider revisiting. For others, it is necessary to look over our shoulder, in order to then be able to look ahead positively. For me, the answer resides somewhere in the middle.
Some people might listen intently as I share on stage, others will completely dismiss my ongoing reflections as having been nothing more than words spoken from an older guy who spells his name with an A. It’s all good. Back in the day, I probably would have thought the same thing had a man with my story been trying to influence my perspective about life too. When you are young, you know it all anyway. But certainly, as we age, the realization we knew nothing back then also becomes extremely apparent as well. We simply cannot know what we cannot know, void of having those experiences which allow us to learn new lessons over time.
I guess too I’ve also recently contemplated it really isn’t fair to consider your life to have been one well-lived compared to others simply because you have more years of experience. The definition scale, of a well-lived life in my opinion, really should be tipped more towards what you have been able to do with those experiences gained in whatever time you have been afforded to have while on this earth. Regardless of whatever moments each of us has left, I sincerely believe it is never too late to impact others with our shared stories.
It too is also just so important for each us to self reflect every now and then. You may be surprised how deep the grooves actually are on your recollection vinyl. You probably have been playing some of the pieces over and over again simply by your actions towards others, and not by your visual imaging in your mind. Your influence on society has probably already been monumental in ways you haven’t considered. Perhaps if you take the time if only to reflect, such I have been doing lately will you too realize what I have been fortunate to comprehend. Each of us has a story to share with one another, in some way. Every story should be told.
If you asked me on stage to speak about my most recent revelation when I harken back to my own days of yore during these seemingly endless winter days of self-reflection. I suppose my response would be something like this:
“Life is a process, we experience, we act, and we subsequently change. I believe the richest gift it has to offer us, is our ability to constantly evolve should we choose to do so. To evolve in ways which might allow for our own and the lives of others around us, to be further enriched”.
As I close the chapter on this moment of reflection, a new one is instantly upon me. I can hear the distant music of another memory starting to play already. I wonder where I’m going next…