Published by Mark Schlipman
As I turned 43 this month, I was inspired to take a hard look at where I am in my life compared to where I want to be. Often, my age is considered middle age. Could I live to 86? It’s very possible. So, if I am at the halftime of my life, is it more work I want to accomplish? Or, is there something much bigger that I’m meant to achieve?
Recently, our team volunteered at the local soup kitchen. We all rolled up our sleeves and began peeling apples, chopping vegetables, and sharing a few laughs. For every apple I peeled, I began to think of all the people that rely on this food every single day. Our team felt very fortunate to serve in this capacity, even on a small scale. On a larger level, however, I realized how lucky we are to live in a society where people are willing to use their separate gifts of time, talent, and treasure to ensure this enterprise makes a difference in the lives of those most vulnerable.
By the looks of the apples I peeled, my talent certainly belongs in the office. But, after seeing all of the efforts it takes to make a soup kitchen work, I gained an appreciation for how my remaining time inside and outside of the firm can affect and benefit others.
In 2017, I climbed my first 14K foot mountain peak. It was a tremendous, thrilling accomplishment. When we got about halfway, our guides were able to tell us exactly how far we had come and how much farther we had to go before we’d summit the mountain. In life, we aren’t afforded the same luxury.
I could be at the halftime of my life, or I could be living the last 35 seconds of the shot clock. Knowing we have no guarantee, except our current breath, puts everything in perspective. For me, it drives me to be a better person to myself, my family, and society as a whole. Keeping that in mind seems easy, but it can be incredibly challenging as we go through our daily routines. Thus, stepping away from those routines to better ourselves and those around us, like volunteering for a cause we care about or crossing an item off of our bucket list, can give us rewards that can’t be bought or sold but that somehow make the time we spend on earth much richer.