As time moves on and I think so much about my accomplishments and what they truly mean, I reflect on memories that for the most part are fulfilling. When I trul
y take the time, I can mentally re-live the events and the role I played and the satisfaction I received.
Memories are the treat of advancing age; they are to be savored, not regretted. In my case, Father Time is moving things and people along, just as our predecessors in age and rank moved along to make room for us. I think of the old poem I tried to memorize in high school, “Thanatopsis,” by William Cullen Bryan. It had a morbid tone to me as a teenager, but it looks much different later in life.
If getting older is teaching me one thing it is that whatever “work” I have done, exceptional or otherwise, is not what has defined me, nor should it. Nobody I know of ever looks back at his life and says “I wish I would have worked longer or harder.” Most regrets are expressed, “I wish I had done other things that had more lasting value.” Whatever I did for clients or my community has been long forgotten because, in the order of things, its impact never would be more than limited and temporary. I must
learn to accept what I did as having value and impact only for a period of time.
Advancing age also has taught me to prioritize what I do, for whom, and when. I no longer have time to “pay one’s dues” or wait until one’s “ship comes in” with the big client or perfect situation. My dues are paid; my ship has come in with whatever “cargo” it has and I am/must be content.
But I am spreading out to do new things that are more profitable financially and which take full advantage of what I have already been given – prominence and a good name in this region. Specifically, I am partnering up with highly successful smart people who have products and services that are truly breakthroughs. I am putting together a speaking program to take on the road. I am going to become up close and personal with executives who want to learn how to market their businesses and why the strategic communications aspect of a company is so very essential to it overall positioning and ultimate success. I am very immersed in my PR business but focusing on clients and engagements that require my highest and best level of skills.
Spreading out my wings and confining my focus to those things that interest me is the reward for reaching my age and it finally gives me a positive answer to the question I have been asking myself: “Am I still relevant?” I certainly am; as long as I don’t let others define that for me.
I don’t say all this to brag; only to suggest that spreading my wings and doing what more personally and professionally excites me, not just sustains me, is how I believe I will become even more relevant and of greater value and substance to my profession, clients, family, friends and of course………..me.