High School Friends & Life!

I recently had the opportunity to fly to Atlanta Georgia to spend an evening with a few high school friends. The weekend was incredible. Many of the attendees I had not seen in over 30 years. We laughed as we told stories about the days of old and caught each other up on the events of our lives since walking across the stage as high school graduates.

As I have reflected on the weekend there are several observations I made which I feel have incredible value. I hope you not only enjoy, but will also take to heart these observations. I believe they could change your life if you will embrace the truths that lie within each.

Life is about Perspective

Over our weekend together the laughter made me realize how important keeping the right perspective on life is. Over 30 years we had all had our mountain top experiences as well as valley’s of disappointment. My classmates could have easily sat around the table and talked about everything that had gone wrong in their lives. The divorces, deaths, job losses and broken friendships; certainly all of us at some point experienced these things, but what kind of party would that have been?  Instead everyone found a way to laugh about those times in our lives when things didn’t go our way and focused on the good, reminiscing about days that we did those crazy and hysterical things that we would not want our children to know.

We have one of two choices in our lives. We can focus on the negatives or we can engage our thinking on the positives. Every one and I mean EVERY ONE experiences sadness and disappointment. There is not a person alive who has not gone through tough times. There difference is that if you and I want to stay on top and truly enjoy living we must keep the right perspective. There are way more blessings out there that will outweigh anything bad if we will just look for them.

Life is about Perseverance

As I mentioned, every one of us that gathered that evening had experienced some kind of disappointment or failure in life just like everyone else in the world.  Besides the incredible positive focus, I also could not ignore the amount of perseverance that each person had to apply in order to get through some of the things life had thrown their way.

When life gets tough the worse thing we can do is give into the challenges. The ability to keep moving forward in the face of opposition and turmoil is not easy, but it is a must if you and I are going to live fruitful lives.Since we are talking about the old days, I remember the poster of a cat hanging from a pull-up bar and the quote below stated, “Hang in there baby!”

There is nothing truer in life; sometimes we just have to Hang In There Baby and look for brighter days, because they are coming.

Life is about Embracing Time

One of the most exciting parts of the weekend was hearing what everyone had accomplished over the past 30 plus years. It was incredible to hear about the businesses friends had started, trips traveled, children, grandchildren and many other journeys of everyone there. There were so many stories that I would need a whole week to sit down with each person and hear all of the exciting events of their lives.

It is moments like this where we meet up with those we haven’t seen in many years that we realize just how short life really is. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that David and I were tearing up the streets of Ellenwood Georgia in his Pontiac admiring the speed of his car and the roar of the engine but then Saturday, 30 years later,  he and I  sat around the table with reading glasses looking at pictures of grandchildren; what a contrast! How did that happen!

Every moment that we are given on this side of Heaven is a gift. Often we allow things to steal away from that time. We spend hours a week sitting in front of a television, weekends walking around a shopping mall, or nights drinking time away. Life is so much more than this. These minutes can be spent doing things that have value. Whether it is getting healthy or pursuing a long time dream, there is time to do it IF it is a priority. We must embrace time and make the most of every moment.

Life is about pursuing Friendships

I also noticed was the amount of work it took to keep in touch. Facebook has been an incredible tool to help reconnect lost relationships, but still it takes effort. Everyone at the gathering had somehow done his or her best to keep up with their classmates. Sometimes one pursued harder than the other, but everyone was making a concerted effort to keep in touch. One person puts a quarterly dinner together while another plans a bi-annual event. Reunions, dinners and other opportunities occur throughout the years that are all in an effort to keep in touch with friends. Not easy, but well worth the time and energy put into it.

We have to get out of our inwardly focused selves and pursue relationships if we truly want them. Waiting on these relationships to come to us just won’t happen. It takes work. To have friendships that stand the test of time means we have to set aside differences, get over unimportant offenses and agree that we will often times have differing opinions. Friendships are not about being another person’s clone; it is about being there and sharing life despite all of those differences.

Life is about Keeping on Keeping on

There is one last  note from my weekend with some of the most incredible people in the world. Without exception, everyone I spoke to still has so much life they plan on living! There was not one attitude of, “This is as good as it gets.” Not at all! Each person told stories of plans for trips, cruises, more business ideas, helping those in need and many other goals and dreams they were working on. The excitement was contagious! So many outgoing personalities who had achieved so much in life still had not quenched their thirst for adventure and are squeezing every drop out of life they can.

I am not sure if there was something in the water in the little town of Ellenwood Georgia, but the group of kids that graduated some 30 plus years ago are some of the most inspiring group of people I have ever met. I wish I could bottle their enthusiasm and determination to live their dreams! If it were possible I would be a very wealthy man.

I hope that this story will inspire many of you to reflect upon your own life. It is my desire that you will search your soul and be honest about where you are in life. Are you letting the moments slip by? Is procrastination and excuses getting the best of you? Have you put your life in neutral and aren’t going anywhere?

Today is the day! Today is YOUR day! No matter how old you are, what your health might be or whatever situation you might find yourself in, there is an opportunity to make a difference. If you knew you had an hour to live, what would you do with that hour? A day? A week? Think about it and take action. Life is a blessing and way too short not to live the dream…live your dream. Why not start today!

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