It’s almost October.
Last quarter of the year.
Last quarter of the DECADE!
i say it often, the time will pass anyway, so you might as well be striving to live your best life.
However, there is a disconnect which often lulls us into thinking we have more time. And for many of us, Lord willing, we do have more time.
But what if you didn’t? What if your days were actually coming to an abrupt end? (SPOILER ALERT: THEY ARE!)
If you had the exact day and time of your demise from this world, would you change the way you do things? Would you change the way you speak to people? Would you change your job/profession? Would you be in greater pursuit of joy and work harder to rid your life of that which does not serve you well?
Whether it was January 1, 2019, some time long before that, or some time since then, you know there are things you wanted to accomplish. Perhaps some of those goals have alluded you. Perhaps some you gave up on as quickly as the thought arose. Perhaps you’re waiting for the “right time” to shoot your shot. All those things are normal human behavior, but the older I get, the more I realize “normal” will not produce the thriving life you desire.
People grossly underestimate how much of an impact small, daily improvements make. I know the math doesn’t always add up, but if you get 1% better at something each day, that’s 365% better in a year’s time! Is that worth your time? Is that worth the effort? Is that something you can look back on and be proud of the work you put forth?
Three months until a new year, a new decade, a new hope. But as you read this, you have days until a new month, hours until a new day, minutes until a new hour. Each passing moment is an opportunity.
You don’t have to wait for some arbitrary time or event, you can literally take action right now. As I’ve said before, you don’t need all the answers (trust me, you’ll never have them anyway!), you just have to do something to move the needle forward.
The time continues to pass and your days are numbered. If you’re not in pursuit of your most elite self, I HIGHLY encourage you to begin that path. If you happen to be one of the few who is already on that journey, KEEP GOING! Regardless of what we achieve in this life, we will all be shadows and dust in the end. Make your time count, and know you can accomplish great things if you so choose.
September 6th, 2019 would have been my Grandma Jackie’s 100th birthday.
Growing up, I always remember her saying she wanted to live to be 100. She’d say it with a smile on her face, and for most of my life I never doubted she would see that day. Unfortunately, her body had other plans, and she passed away back in 2008.
A vast majority of the time I can be found with a smile on my face as well. I am a genuinely happy person, and naturally optimistic. I like to think I was born this way, but the older I get, and the more I realize happiness and gratitude is a CHOICE, the more I believe it was the model shown to me, with my Grandma leading the way, that shaped the way I am today. Sure I have my fair share of trials and tribulations like everyone else, but my Grandma’s spirit has always been, and remains, a constant influence in my life.
You see, along with my Dad, she helped raise me from the time I was 4 until she moved back to St. Louis (where most of my family is from) when I was in high school. At times she lived with us, other times she was right down the street. I would spend most weekends at her house, goofing around, watching Notre Dame football, eating blue bell ice cream with Hershey’s syrup, tossing a ball around, and playing game after game of Scrabble.
(Side note: If I routinely beat you in Words With Friends, you can thank her for that!)
She lived a simple life. She loved watching Sound of Music every time it came on tv, and at some point my dad finally bought her a tv with a VCR player, and we made sure she had that movie to watch any time she wanted. She lived on her own until the last couple months of her life. She would walk to the grocery store, take the bus for her other errands, and volunteer in her senior center office. When she moved back to St. Louis, we would talk on the phone on a regular basis, and go visit her a couple times a year.
Our visits never consisted of much excitement, and that was exactly the point. It was truly about spending time with the most important people, and simply enjoying each others company. She didn’t need to go on an adventure or go shopping, she didn’t care if we went out for dinner, and she could not have cared less what was happening in politics. She was simply and unequivocally grateful to have our presence.
At any random time she would say out loud, to no one in particular “Oh Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you for this day.” It was never trite, and she wasn’t saying it just to say it. Every time she spoke those words, she truly meant it.
And here’s why I believe that to be true.
From the mid 90’s until her departure, she dealt with some serious medical issues. Breast cancer resulting in a mastectomy, diabetes, 2 strokes, bone cancer, and ultimately stomach cancer (I’m sure I’m forgetting a few other things!). I don’t wish any of that upon any one, and that’s certainly not the most fulfilling way to live out the later stages of life. While it wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, in true stoic philosophy form, long before I understood any of it, she made a choice.
She chose to be grateful.
She chose to put a smile on her face.
She chose to spread joy to others.
She refused to complain about her woes because in her words “I don’t want to hear myself complain, and I’m sure no one else does either!”
She knew regardless of what she was going through, she was still alive, and each day was a gift. She had people to love and those who loved her, and she could still put a smile on people’s faces just by talking to them and being the light she was.
Often it really is the simple things in life that mean the most.
I still think about her all the time. Her silliness, her smile, her saying “Well, it’s time to shit or get off the pot!” (always cracked me up), and her absolute joy for life. She lived the way I wish to live, and I strive to embody her spirit as much as possible, every single day.
So today, I celebrate Jacquelyn Martha Zalmanoff, my sweet grandmother who would have been 100 years old today. I’m sure if she were still her, she’d be taking out her dentures, having a big ol piece of cake, and saying “Oh Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you for this day.”
In addition to coaching people to better fitness and nutrition, Marc enjoys writing and helping expand people's minds to live their best life.
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