I’ve always been a fan of a good story; that is probably why I’ve always loved to watch and collect movies. A movie with a good story creates a sense of nostalgia in us that makes us turn to our own lives and begin to look introspectively at our life’s course. What makes the story of a movie is not the beginning and the end, but the parts in-between, but I think often those are the times that we like to forget about our own stories.
I often have a tendency to think about the time at my first duty station of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, which is in New Jersey. I often look back on my time there and begin to have all theses warm and loving memories, but that picture has a slight distortion because while I was going through that time of “warmth” and “nostalgia” I despised it and complained about it more than I didn’t. It wasn’t until now when I have the advantage of perspective that I can look back and see the good in the moment(s).
That made me consider how many moments I have missed by not appreciating and valuing my time there. How many times have we missed the moment(s) in our life wishing for something better? It is interesting how often we look back at our past with the lens of nostalgia, but often when our past was our present we despised it. If only we enjoyed the moment of the present, then maybe we would have emptied ourselves and gave our all to that moment, creating a present where we don’t have to look back and wonder what if. How many times have you said, if I had it to do over again, I would do it differently?
The greatest challenge is that we so often miss our moments to do it right the first time because we are either living in the past hoping for a do over, or looking forward to a future that may or may not come. As leaders we are supposed to have a vision of the future, but we can’t have a vision that neglects the present. We must be the vision carrier, but also be able to preserve the present. If I could pass one thing down as a leader, it would be to those that follow me to never be so anxious for something better that you lose perspective of the good in your present moment.
There is no time like the present: enjoy it, take advantage of it and live a life that when you look back through the lens of nostalgia you will say I’m glad I didn’t miss the moment.