by Jess Faulk
A year ago, this past weekend I had the pleasure of spending a mere 24-hours with a wonderful person named Tommy McNabb. My cousin Tommy, who was born the same year as I was, lived a starkly different life than my own. He lived in the South. He grew up hunting, fishing, and working with his hands. He joined the military and worked in the bayous of Louisiana. Growing up a suburbanite from California, and now living in the city of Boston, MA, I was anxious to take in everything about country living and the experiences that came with it. My openness to learning anything and everything that Tommy had to teach me sent us on a whirlwind day of skeet shooting, canoeing (with a half of paddle!), 4-wheeling, and building a bonfire as big as the house. While I didn’t know it at the time, the day we spent together was precious, as Tommy died in a car accident that very next day.
These moments of time that take our breath away, that feel they shouldn’t happen to anyone outside of a movie, do happen. They happen for all of us. It may be a death in the family, a sickness of a pet, or a tragedy at work. When these things happen in life they cause us to pause and reassess what we are doing in life and ask questions. Are my priorities right? Am I living life to the fullest? Am I achieving my goals?
In honor of Tommy, and of anyone who has loss a loved one, taken stock of their life, or just needed a new direction, I wanted to share a linkage love that helps you start asking these questions. I hope one of these links inspire you to think outside of the moment you are in and ask yourself the questions that matter.
Moments of Reflection: “If you could relive any moment in your life what would it be?”
This is a link to a post I did in Dec 2011, which has a good exercise for reflection. The post is about taking stock of memorable, fun or blissful moments in your life. Taking note of what made them so wonderful, and seeing what patterns emerge. The process of doing this helped me figure out my priorities, and it helps me refocus my energy on what really matters.
The World’s Greatest Goal Achiever
Finding John Goddard’s list reminded me of an exercise I have done several times in my first year seminar course. I wanted to end the class on positive note that helped my students think beyond their first year and their time in college. While the homework of coming up with a list of things they wished to experience or achieve in their lifetime may seem a tad bit whimsical, my hope was that they would look back in the notebook we bought them and use it every once in a while to think beyond the moment they are in, and get excited about the possibilities for their future.
When I went searching online for goal tracking websites, I found a number of public wishing sites. The idea being that if you publicly state what you hope to achieve you are more accountable for making it happen. I like this idea. Although I may start with a list tacked to my refrigerator, or a blog post to my friends, I like the idea of stating out loud what you want to accomplish in life. It sounds like a good first step to making it happen.