“But I have a canoe!’
I recently had the privilege of attending a memorial service for the mother of a close friend and colleague in Incito, my own Netcito group. As she recalled memories of her mother, she shared a story from college:
It was a Friday afternoon on a spring day: sun shining, trees bursting with green. I was inside, diligently preparing for an exam on tax accounting. The phone rang. My mom was on the other end. The conversation went something like this:
“You need to come outside with me. A friend is lending me their canoe. We need to go canoeing!”
“Mom, I would love to join you, but I’m preparing for finals. I need to study. I have an exam.”
“But, I have a canoe!”
Mom won that day. I took an afternoon off to spend a beautiful day on the river with my mother. I got a B+ on the exam.
Thirty years later, that afternoon canoe trip stood out as a measure of her mother’s life. It is a sweet memento of a life well lived, a celebration of the love between mother and daughter. My friend’s story makes me wonder about our attitude toward work as we enter the summer months. Are we going to double down, pressing onwards to our goals of growth and profitability, or will we loosen the screws, taking an afternoon here or a long lunch there?
I’m tempted to say that this story is a reminder for us to knock off work a little early so that we can spend time with family, in nature, and the people we love. There’s truth in this, but it doesn’t go far enough. It’s also a reminder to consider the type of life you want to lead, the exams you want to pass and the canoes you want to paddle.
My friend’s story about her mom gets at the question of purpose. Someday, sooner than we think, we will all experience the loss of a loved one. Let’s start now to make the most of these summer days, and the ones beyond. As you prepare for your next Netcito meeting, consider giving yourself and those you love one of the following gifts:
The simple version: Take an afternoon or day off to spend with loved ones, doing something that you will remember well into the Autumn years of your life.
The advanced version: Take a few minutes to write your own eulogy. Not as though you died today, but as though you died years from now, living the life that you aspired to. What do people have to say about you? What was your canoe?
I invite you to carry these opportunities lightly. If they call to you, follow through and share the outcomes with your Netcito group. If not, save them for a later date. My friend’s story reminded me that the most valuable moments in our lives are happening right now. Our Netcito community calls us to turn toward our full potential. Many thanks to you and everyone else who makes that possible.
PS I am also mindful of the many other Netcito members who have recently experienced the loss or illness of a loved one. My thoughts and those of the Netcito community are with you.