I watched a short video this morning that was shared on Facebook and I did something quite unusual for me, I shared it again. I am not one to share everything that I come across on Facebook. Its not that I don't come across cool links to either videos or articles, its just that most of the time, I take what I can from them, and move on. I don't necessarily find it important to share everything that I read or watch on Facebook, not all of it is necessarily worthy of my hitting the like button along with 5.5k other people. Yet this morning, I felt the need to, mostly because the video I watched drove home points that I found incredibly important to everyone. In short, the video was about a 17 year old high school student who found out that he had terminal cancer and had about 6 months to a year to live. It wasn't about the cancer, rather it was about how the cancer had a positive effect on him and drove him to live life to the fullest, to not take anything for granted, to value those around him, and to impact others in the most positive way possible. He ended up passing away just a few day ago. In the process of watching the video, it got me thinking about what we value in life and how we live every day. Do we take our family for granted, do we get too absorbed in work and what we are doing to notice others around us, do we obsess over the stupid things in life and forget whats really important? I feel that many people probably slip into the middle, living life and yet not living it to their fullest potential. I know I do. Its tough not fall into the middle when you envision having your whole life ahead of you and plenty of time to value what's important; tomorrow. Yet if we keep on putting the important things off till tomorrow, will we truly ever get there? Some of us will and there will be a good many people who don't. I am sure that all of us would agree that we want to live our lives without regrets, without feeling that we should have done certain things and not others, we should have made a better impact on others than we actually did. When do we start living and stop floating?
To be honest, it doesn't take that much effort to start truly living, we just need to take a little time every day to remind ourselves of what is important to us. If work is the most important thing to you, then dedicate yourself more fully to it. If family is most important to you, then spend a little more time strengthening the relationships you have with your family. Its all about what we value most and how we approach it in life. We can go about it half assed, or we can dive right in, get our hands dirty, and make a difference. Regardless of what we value most in life, everything we do from work to family to play involves interactions with other people. I feel that what matters most is how we treat those we interact with on a daily basis. If we strive to have a positive impact on everyone we come into contact with, then we are doing a pretty damn good job of living a full life. Even if we value work over everything else (which I definitely don't do), we still have to interact with others and the more we can impact those around us in a positive way, the more we will have a "full" life surrounding us. Life is not about trudging along with our heads down paying no heed to those around us. Life is about creating deep relationships with others than can sustain us through the tough times and make us even happier in the good times. While I don't always put in as much effort as I should, I definitely strive to have a positive impact on those around me, even if they are complete strangers. Yet, I could always do more. We all could, yet sometimes it is not easy to do. The easiest thing we can all do is smile at other people. It is one of the most amazing things that I witness on a day to day basis, the impact that a smile has on other people. There are countless times when I will be walking somewhere and a stranger walking in the opposite direction will look up with a blank expression on their face. 95% of the time, when they see me smiling, they will smile back and you can tangible see their mood lifted just a little bit. Its the unexpected holding of the door for a stranger, the random act of kindness that has the biggest impact on others.
Yet in our efforts to impact those around us, we can never forget our family and the relationships we have with them. Our family is the most important unit we will ever be a part of. I have talked about it before, but it never gets old to talk about how important family is. Some people take their family for granted, and I will be honest, there are times when I do as well. Despite my best efforts to always place family first, I do suffer from the occasional slip up. Yet I feel for the most part, I do pretty well when it comes to placing a high value on my family. The majority of the time, if a family member needs something, I will drop whatever it is I am doing to help out. Even just this past weekend, I got the offer from a friend to work on Saturday. As much as I would have liked the extra money, spending time with my family was more important to me than making a few extra hundred dollars. Work will always be there in one form or another, yet family will be there for longer and if I don't establish the strongest bond I can with my family, then what will be left for me later? I don't want to find out, so I put my best efforts where they are needed, family and friends, followed lastly by work. I think my ideas have run their course for the day, but I think you get my point, value those around you and love everyone, even those strangers walking down the street.