“If you're not reaching back to help anyone, then you're not building a legacy.” – Germany Kent
During one of the holidays, my youngest daughter decided to have a puzzle created from a family photo taken a few years back. This was of one of my favorite memories, capturing a time when the kids were younger and we were all together as a family.
For this particular photo, we had ventured along a pathway into the forest where the autumn leaves had created a beautiful canvas. We dressed as our casual selves, wearing blue jeans and sweaters that would compliment each other in the photo. Reflecting back on the photo shoot, makes me chuckle, as our oldest daughter is an amazing photographer, but for this particular shoot we had forgotten the remote clicker, and had to rely on someone racing against time to press the 10 second delay button and ease back into the frame. We had many laughs, comical photos, and were reminded of the joy of being all together and living in the moment.
Life isn’t always so carefree as we keep ourselves busy by just being busy. Sometimes we may find ourselves juggling so many moving pieces that we lose time altogether. There is a period in my own life where I found myself raising children, working full time, taking nighttime courses, running kids to dance lessons, sneaking in time to nurture a relationship with my spouse, and grabbing a few fleeting moments of free time enjoying friendships. I was an expert of time management in my career, and in getting things accomplished within the week for the family to function. But behind this illusion of having it all together, I was drowning and completely exhausted to the point where I have lost chunks of time in my life.
It is an impossible task to single handily keep all the pieces of life together, but yet many of us struggle through under the illusion that others may judge us if the work hasn’t been completed, the house left messy, and the ten thousand other excuses we come up with to justify the behaviour. Most of the time there is someone else that we can bring into the fold to help ease the burden, but we push them away again under an illusion that these are our jobs and if we can’t do it, then we must be incompetent. We forget that by accepting help, we honour the person who offered it and validate to them that we both appreciate and care. There is tremendous joy to be found in helping another person, sharing in some of the stresses, and turning mundane chores into moments spent in companionship. It is easy to be the one giving, but we need to learn to become equally as good at receiving, so that we can share this beautiful gift.
My daughters have all grown up now and have lives of their own, although we are still blessed to have some of them living under our roof as they complete their post-secondary journey. That 500 piece family photo took up space on the living room coffee table for over a month, as reality sank in of the difficulty of trying to piece together a moment of time when life was simple and carefree. It became an extremely difficult task putting together a puzzle where every piece had been carefully cut apart in a different shape, yet all the colors looked the same. I was on a mission to not give up, and found myself almost desperately at times trying to complete the puzzle, until the day I finally placed in the last piece of our family’s image. It dawned on me in that moment that what I was doing was making sure that our family was pieced back together. That it didn’t matter what the backdrop or craziness of life was to bring, for family would always be the glue that would hold my world together.
My family is my everything, and my legacy I hope to pass down to my children is to slow down. Stop trying to do it all. Stop trying to be perfect. Stop feeling as if you owe the world all the best pieces of yourself. I now lead by example, as actions truly speak much louder than words, and I’ve come to realize that no one will take your advice if your not being true to yourself. Change and empowerment starts with you first!
My greatest wish for all of us is to be the creator of our own lives, to follow our hearts and dreams and shoot for the stars! Make messes, have fun, dance in the rain, and just be perfectly imperfect in this journey of life.
Lots of love,