Oh, boy, a four-day work week. I could live this way. At this point, I know a mass 4-day work week won’t happen in my lifetime. Or, more correctly, in my working lifetime.
I’m not to the finish line, but I can see it. The joy I used to feel for accomplishing amazing amounts of projects every week is starting to fade. Part of my desire to give up the radio part of my career has to do with the fact I want to exit while I can still give it my all. While I’m still delivering my best stuff. To get out before I start walking through things. That, to me, is a sin.
So, at this particular point in time, a good majority of everything I do is on the chopping block. The days of “Look at how I can multi-task like a mad man” are fading. I’m looking at all the things I do that fill my waking hours and trying to figure out what I can trim, which will give me more time to relax and better enjoy the things I’ll keep doing. Oh, I’ll keep doing things.
I take on so many of the things that I do, voluntarily (most do not involve money) because I sincerely care about them. In the past half-decade, two of my favorite events have gone away–The annual “Welcome to Santa” at the Country Village Shopping Center in Bothell (the event and the Village are now long gone) and being the on-camera host for Bothell’s “Freedom Festival” Parade on the 4th of July. Someone at city hall wanted to take the event “a different direction.”
But one of the traditions I will never let go is venturing over to the Evergreen Washelli cemetery on Memorial Day, view row after row of flags and headstones, snap a few pictures, realize how lucky we are and how thankful we should be for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Commitments prevented me from visiting this special place on Memorial Day itself, so Tuesday morning–the day after–I got an early start and headed over before they started picking up all the flags they had put out. Every year, to Evergreen Washelli’s credit, they make the effort to pressure wash over 5,000 military headstones and then, volunteers place an American flag on each and every gravesite.
It makes you think. It makes you cherish every breath you take just a little bit more.
Coming up on birthday number 68 in the fall (God, that sounds old), I don’t know how I got here. But I know that underneath every single one of those flags are the remains of someone denied a lifetime. Men and women who had big plans, but never got to realize them. Soldiers that meant to come back and realize their own American dream.
And that’s when I get all schmaltzy and weepy-eyed. We’re so quick to complain about how things are or how they should be, when the bottom-line is that we’re still here–to smell that coffee in the morning, to hang with friends, go on vacations, or just savor a sunset.
Hank Williams had a song called, “I’ll never get out of this world alive,” which is true. But these soldiers are a special group of fellow citizens who took a chunk of their precious time on this earth to serve our country. Some drafted, some volunteered, with so many never finding out what was waiting for them when their days with the military were finally over.
I will continue to look for things to trim from my routine. But treating myself each year to a couple of moments of reflection and appreciation every Memorial Day to express my thanks to those heroes is the absolute least that I can do.