It’s my birthday month. And not just any birthday—my 40th! I’ve had well wishes right along with teasing phrases like “you’re over the hill.” After 40 years of trekking through this thing we call life, the view from the top of this metaphorical hill is better than ever.
Now that I am no longer bogged down with caring for small children or launching new businesses, I can take a step back, and I feel like I can really see life's priorities clearly.
Faith is number one, laying the foundation of our being. With faith comes love, and with love comes hope. My faith has taught me to love unconditionally and to hope in all circumstances.
Family is number two. This life-long net of support is never random, and it is stronger than any obstacle. Here lies the opportunity for true investment.
Lastly, the chance to make a difference with service is number three. However, I find this to be overwhelming when processing the turmoil in the world—it is easy to feel depressed, like you can’t make an impact. Someone once asked me why people don’t change things. “When did people stop caring?” I think the answer is that they haven’t stopped caring. There are just so many problems that our voice dissipates when spread in so many directions.
This reminds me of a story I read several years ago that had a great life lesson in it. The story talks about how thousands of starfish washed onto a beach. A tourist sees a local man bend over, pick up a starfish, and toss one after another back into the water. The tourist asks the man, Why bother? What difference could it possibly make? The local man picks up another starfish, tosses it into the water, and replies, “Made a difference to that one!”
If we all tossed a few proverbial starfish back into the ocean, the world would be a much better place. When I’m overwhelmed by the negativity of life, I control what I can: me. I give service to the causes I feel the most passionately about.
So, the best advice I can offer from my new view is this: have faith, love, and hope in your heart; cherish your family; and serve others as often as possible.
What would you add to this list? Or would you modify it entirely? Does the view change with a larger hill? That is, do you think our priorities change as we get older?