Lessons Learned the Hard Way

December 31, 2013

As I look ahead to 2014, I realize that I have spent too much of 2013 focusing on what I have lost, and not enough on what I have learned.  While I may be tempted to add “and good riddance to 2013” after shouting “Happy New Year” tonight, the past year has taught me some powerful lessons.  While they were hard lessons to learn, I am grateful for them.  Here are a few:

There is never enough time with those we love.  My Dad died in January.  He had inoperable cancer, and we knew what the end result would be.  We tried to savor the time that we had together before he passed.  It wasn’t enough.  I realize, though, that no quantity of additional days, weeks, months, or years would have been.

Time passes quickly.  In my mind, I often feel that I am about the age of my eldest daughter.  When I do, I’m ignoring three intervening decades.  I’m not sure where they went, but I know that I can’t get them back.  In another 30 years, I’ll be 80.  I have a lot of living to do between now and then.

Nothing should be taken for granted.  A few months ago, I walked into my boss’s office for my mid-year review, armed with the confidence that came from knowing that I had already surpassed my year-end revenue goals.  I walked out with a letter from HR explaining that my position had been eliminated.  Things don’t have to make sense for them to be real.

We are more than our work.  The extent to which the layoff knocked the wind out of me has made it clear that what we do for a living should only be a part of who we are.  Defining oneself in terms of something that can so easily be taken away is not a recipe for happiness.

Things may not be what they appear.  Imagine the most “together”, confident, successful, popular person you can.  Then imagine him deciding that his family would be better off without him, and ending his life.  I received word of that happening to a friend a few days before Christmas.  Regardless of appearances, we are all fighting a battle of some sort.

Hard lessons, but important lessons.

Be good to each other, and to yourself.

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The Widsom of Youth

December 9, 2013
We had sleet and freezing rain last night, but Albemarle County opted for a 2-hour school delay this morning, rather than canceling.  The decision prompted a varying and entertaining range of reactions.  Some choice FB comments from local students:
 

If we call them enough, will they overturn it?   –  Um, probably not, particularly if you organize your call-in campaign in public.

My brother almost flipped and wrecked his truck which had 4 wheel drive. –  If this is true, his brother should turn in his man card.

There’s no power in Hollymead. MY HAIR IS GROSS HOW WILL I SHOWER I WILL BE BULLIED MY HAIR IS SO GREASY YOU COULD COOK BACON ON IT.  – This one gets creativity points for working in the anti-bullying theme.

I mean did y’all not even consider what student/parents are hasseling through.  –  It’s her world and the rest of us are just living in it!

This is probably the dumbest decision you guys have ever called.  – Really?

I am very disappointed in your judgment ACPS. Very disappointed.  – Ah, playing the dreaded “disappointed” card.  This guy means business.

I wish I went to school down here 🙂  –  No doubt posted by an amused northerner who is accustomed to school staying open no matter what.

It seems a little unfair to have school when some students can’t come due to they can’t even get up their driveway.  –  Interesting angle – having school will penalize those who cannot come. A budding lawyer, no doubt.

So I just walked outside and slipped on Ice trying to open my car again, and I cut my hand two seconds after impact with ground and now I need to go to a doctor in this weather. See what you guys have done?   – When all else fails, try the guilt approach.

Lets not forget, if there is melting there are tons of creeks that run through out the Scottsville area that flood easily and prevent people from driving.  – We might have a volcano eruption as well!

I don’t really care about going to school or doing homework or any of that. I just wanted to go snowboarding, hahaha.  –  At least he’s honest.

I didn’t do my homework…  – Isn’t this what all the rest are really saying?