What I do

I get up every morning and brew organic coffee in a press pot (I’m a coffee snob).  I then sit down with the steaming elixer and read the print version of the New York Times.

I’m struck while reading how much change is occurring and how fast it is accelerating.  I’m also struck by the fact that I could have read the same newspaper three hundred years ago and found that not much has changed.  So in some ways, everything’s the same.

I then saunter over to the kitchen table to eat my breakfast and hang out with my wife (I married WAY over my head). I gaze at her and tell her how beautiful she’s becoming everyday. 

She’ll point out I’m just nice and encouraging to everyone, and then proceed to inform me how unfair aging is to women and how tough it is to not be defined by the culture’s moving target of beauty.

I hear my kids slurping down their last vestiges of their breakfast, unable to get my mind around how fast they are growing up. I don’t like it.

Every time one of my daughters tells me she has outgrown a pair of pants, I send her to time out.  I figure I might punish the growth spurts out of her.

Around 8:30 a.m., I exercise at a health club nestled in the basement of a medical building.  There I join other middle aged men and women at staving off the inevitable.  When I've completed my work out, I'm reminded once again that my joints are bit stiffer than they were even a week ago. 

On my way back home, I pass a parade of elderly people sauntering in for their regular, and in some cases daily, outing to the doctor.  I'm sure they realize how many changes have taken place over the course their lifetimes.

Around ten in the morning I return home to hunker down in my home office and try to slug out a living in the midst of the worst economic conditions in a generation.  Wasn’t it just last year we were all flying high in the stock market?

Usually, around mid-afternoon, I'll run an errand or two.

When I am out in the asphalt jungle, taking in the fumes from other commuters, I regularly wax nostalgic. Being born and raised in the same city I currently live in, it’s easy to fall back in dreamy remembrances of lighter traffic patterns and quainter neighborhoods.  Oh well…

After a whirlwind of activities tying up the loose ends of the day, I nestle in bed to read and catch up with my gorgeous wife lying beside me. I affirm her beauty in my eyes once again, and she  points out how nice and encouraging I am to everyone, and then proceeds to inform me how unfair aging is to women and how tough it is to not be defined by the culture’s moving target of beauty…etc…

In our conversation we inevitably conclude that the changes of the day, though challenging, are truly a fact of life.  We conclude too, that we are getting wiser even as we are getting older. 

Together we clasp our hands in prayer and ask God to give us a more expansive perspective on the massive global upheavals we intuitively sense are unprecedented in human history.

We at last close our eyes content in knowing that for now, we made it through; that life itself is a gift and an adventure; and that, for now, we are in a new place, different than this morning, and we are stronger.

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Jeff Vankooten is a speaker and author focusing on the power of resilience to effectively engage the challenges of change. He helps leaders, businesses, and organizations develop the skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly unpredictable business environment.
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