Recently, I received a poem from a good friend, who told me he thought I would enjoy it because, as he put it, “You’re always writing about people and their feelings.”
He was right. I am quite impressed with the wisdom and sentiment expressed in the poem. I don't know who wrote this piece, but whoever it is has obviously been through some tough times and, as a consequence, learned some great lessons.
Judge for yourself:
Friends are like balloons.
Once you let them go, you can’t get them back.
Life is too short to wake up with regrets.
Love the people who treat you right;
Forget about the ones who don't.
Believe everything happens for a reason.
If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.
If it changes your life, let it.
Nobody said life would be easy.
They just promised it would be worth it.
I was moved by the thoughts in this poem because those few sentences reveal values and thoughts that probably apply to all of us as we trudge through life, attempting on a day-to-day basis to live lives of fulfillment and happiness. Life can be tough, especially for those of us who have experienced the setbacks that come with age. And yet, it is true that life is too short to fill it with regrets.
Nobody said everything would come easily or that negative events won’t sap your energy and enthusiasm. We all wish we had played our cards differently at some point or another. But seeing the positives in life is crucial. You are alive, and that means there are always opportunities.
Have you ever failed at something and dreamed of a second chance to get it right? Sure you have! If you get such an opportunity, you have to put your heart and soul into it. I entitled my second book Reach for the Stars because I think we should have a dream that pushes us to go beyond what we think of as our limits. Don’t let injustice or ignorance or anything stand in your way when it comes to fulfilling your ambitions.
Negativity can lead to despair, and that’s why getting away from people who treat you badly is important for your psyche. Be with people who have positive attitudes, who love life, love people and treat you well.
Some people I know have failed many times over in their careers but they don’t let it keep them down. They pick themselves up and in many cases, finally succeed. That shows true character, and character is something we all admire.
Everyone has people they call friends. Some are acquaintances, others are more. Having a true friend is really a wonderful thing: someone you can confide in, someone who listens to you, doesn’t judge you and respects your privacy. You have to cherish them, and as the poem says, don’t let them float away.
I had such a friend in New York when I worked there for a number of years. His name was Ed McCarrick. He was the senior vice-president of the company where I worked. We worked together on a number of projects and enjoyed talking about our dreams, disappointments and victories.
However, I moved to Chicago for another job, got busy, and for more than a year or so didn't talk to Ed. Then one day I called his office in New York, only to be told he had died the year before of cancer. I couldn't believe it! I was stunned and I felt tremendous regret that I had never reached out to him for such a long period of time.
Because of that, I now keep in close contact with each of my friends, never letting it go too long without calling. You really never know what is going to happen. Tomorrow may be too late to tell someone you care about them! In other words, pick up the phone or get in a car or plane, whatever it takes to nurture your friendship. Don’t let them float away like a balloon.