Smell the Roses

Where did the time go? I have been asking myself that question ever since I received notification of my 30-year high school reunion. It seems like yesterday that I was hanging with my friends at Skiatook Lake living a simpler life.

This time of year with events like graduations, reunions, and vacations, the question about time comes up more frequently. “It seems just like yesterday” that we went on vacation. The reality is that it has been a year or maybe two. Just last week, my son graduated from high school, yet it seems like “just yesterday” that he was born, starting kindergarten, playing in his first football game, starting middle school, getting his driver’s license – I think you get the idea.

As for me and my reunion, I reflected on “where did the time go.” I thought about my life at my 10-year reunion and suspected my most significant decision was what to wear to the occasion. I was still trying to figure things out, but one thing is for sure, life was not near as simple as my care-free high school days. At the time, I had two children, and life was hectic -every moment had an activity planned. Why? Because that is what you’re supposed to do. Or is it?

I continued my reflection by pondering my life at my 20-year reunion. The kids were a bit older, and life had thrown some things my way. My career was going very well. However, cancer got the best of my mother, and I went through a divorce. The days of high school were long gone, but it seemed “like yesterday.” The conversations at the 20-year reunion were about the kids, careers, and what kind of car was in the parking lot.

As I approach the 30-year reunion, life looks way different than it did at the 20-year event. At some point, between the two occasions, the reality of “where did the time go,” began to take on a new meaning. It was during this time that I heard someone say “be careful not wish your life away.” We do this by saying things like “I wish it were Friday”; “I can’t wait for Christmas to get here”; “only six months until vacation.” The term resonated with me, and I began to appreciate another phrase regarding time, which is “take time to smell the roses.”

As I think back on the last 30 years, my best memories are of simple things. Things like sitting by a fire at deer camp with close friends and watching my wife, Leigh Ann, warm up for a bike race. Spur of the moment events like an unplanned dinner with my daughter, Jordan, on a Tuesday night. Simply being in the moment when enjoying a run through the fog in Napa Valley and watching a millennium sunrise. Simple moments like seeing tears roll down my son’s cheeks after his final football game and Eva having chocolate milk with us while we enjoy our morning coffee in bed (a daily routine for us).

Recently, my son bought me a Red Ryder BB gun. Over the last couple of weeks, we have had fun shooting cans in the backyard. The look on Eva’s face when “we” hit one is priceless. It’s the little things like this that I am sure I will be thinking about when the 40-year reunion comes around.

Time is the only thing we can’t make more of so take some time to “smell the roses” and savor the small moments.

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