It’s really interesting how things work out sometimes. I left Memphis on a Tuesday with a full heart. The Creative at Heart conference taught me so many things – things not only about my business, but also about myself, my life and my faith.
For me, the biggest takeaway was thinking about the overall vision for my life. What do I want my life to look like when I’m 80? What do I want to have accomplished? What do I want my children to say about me after I’ve passed? What truly is most important when we reach that point in our lives, and how do all of the pieces fit together to reflect that larger vision?
Less than 24 hours after returning home from Creative, my aunt passed away after a long battle with breast cancer at the young age of 50. This hit me hard for the obvious reasons, but it also made me reflect on what I had just experienced at Creative in a different light.
Normally, when we envision the end of our lives we see ourselves as old, wrinkly people swaying to and fro in a worn-in rocking chair. Our children are grown and our grandchildren are well on their way to doing the same. We’ve lived full lives, and we enjoy sharing those stories with our loved ones in hopes that they may learn from our successes and our mistakes.
We never expect life to abruptly end before that point. We never expect to not be able to see our children grow. We never expect our time to be cut short. But the reality is that sometimes that happens.
I think all too often we put things off. We tell ourselves we’ll pour everything into our business now so that later we can spend more time with our families. We tell ourselves that next year will be the year that we’ll put ourselves out there and start that business venture. We tell ourselves that after we get married or after we have a child or after our kids are grown, then that is when we’ll do that thing we’ve been meaning to do. That’s when we’ll make a difference. That’s when we’ll become who we were created to be.
It’s time to stop putting things off. The time to do all of those things, the time to become that person that you know you were created to be, the time to spend time with and love your family is NOW.
Each and every one of us has been blessed with talents and gifts. God gave us these gifts for a reason. He didn’t give me an eye for photography and a heart for loving others so that I could set them on a shelf and let them collect dust. He didn’t give me Beckett so that I could only pay a limited amount of attention to him, because I’m too busy replying to an email on my phone. He didn’t give me a loving husband so that I could solely focus on building a photography empire while my marriage sits on the back burner.
He has given us all our own unique gifts and talents for a reason. He wants us to utilize what he’s given us. He wants us to love others and make an impact through those gifts.
I’ve thought a lot about this vision, and I can’t say I have it 100 percent figured out yet. Figuring out how to balance everything we’re blessed with is a constant work in progress. Here’s what I do know, though. I know that whether my last day is tomorrow or 60 years from now, I want my husband and my children to know how deeply I loved and cared for them. I want them to be able to feel that love long after I’ve passed. I want my children and grandchildren to look at what I’ve done with my life and know that you can be successful by doing what you’re passionate about. I want them to see that you can love others and positively impact their lives in whatever it is that you decide to do with your life. I want them to understand that the smallest act of kindness can make the biggest difference. I want them to know that love is always the answer. It always wins. And I want them to know all of this not only because I taught them that, but because that’s how they witnessed me live my life.
I sincerely hope that I have many many years ahead of me to ensure that they know all of these things. I know, though, that there’s no guarantee. So I’m not putting any of it off. I’m going to start living out that vision today, and my hope is that you will too.