I must preface this post by saying this: I am known for chatting with anyone, anywhere and at anytime as I believe it is our human connection that keeps us from being totally dismissive of others. Ready?
I travel quite a bit and work with such passion and determination that there are times when I seek refuge in a few secret places where I go to clear my head and feel human again. This morning, I strolled into one and made a beeline for my corner, only to stop short because an older Chinese man was sitting there just a calm as you please having some Jamaican fare. I squinted at him and in my most devious voice, told him he must be keeping my seat warm because there is an unwritten notice in this place, that that coveted seat belongs to me. He squinted back and said in Patois, ” Only a regal Jamaican woman could walk in here like she owned the place, wanting what is not rightfully hers”..we smiled warmly at each other and commenced to chatting about life, love and the pursuit of happiness.
What I found in those thirty minutes, were some really profound statements made by someone who has been alive for 70 plus years… Turns out this man is a Structural Engineer and he began frequenting this establishment since his wife of 31 years died in 2002. He then tells me of his life in New York for many years, his six children and how he took such pride in the fact that his wife never had to work and they lived quite well. He then said, he had one huge regret and wanted to impart it to me……
He was so busy earning a living, he never really got to know his children and to this day, he feels the sting of it. He believed that being a good provider was all about the money and he now believes that is only a small part; the larger piece is building a strong, solid relationship with his children and creating a legacy that was tangible. “I would give up some of that money today and live with less if I knew then what I know now” he said and went further into sadness as he relayed a conversation he recently had with his grown son who told him that had he ( father) put structures and discipline in place for him as a child, he ( son) would have been a much better adult.
To compound all of this, he said as much as he loved his wife and provided for her every need, he had no idea who she really was until she died and he saw the outpouring of love and testimonials from perfect strangers about who she was a person. He was too busy making a living. I told him a little of my life , my sons and how I truly believe they ( sons) are my legacy here on earth and I raise them with the best I have within me as a parent with good examples. As I hugged Mr. Chin good bye, I walked away with the thought that there really are some non- negotiables in this life that we can all strive towards, depending on where we are cognitively;
- Smile often and give hugs freely
- life is too short to give your energies to people who are undeserving. Do not allow the “takers” to suck the very life out of you.
- NO is a great word. Use it.
- Treat others with kindness as much as you humanly can; it is like storing ” karma nuggets” for the times when life throws you serious curveballs.
- Do not ever apologize for putting your health and well being above what others want. There will always be an “important” meeting and life moves on with or without you.
- Choose always to do your work with pride and excellence; you will never go hungry.
- Pick a profession not so much for the monetary reward but rather the feeling of accomplishment you gain from it and what are you contributing to society as a result.
- Find out as soon as you can, what your purpose/ contribution is here on earth and try not to be labeled as a “grabber” or “taker” since you cannot leave earth with any of it.
- Your legacy is not the money you earned but rather your children and the contributions you left behind.
- Love your children enough to hold them accountable for their actions and try not to relive your childhood through them. Allow their own natural creativity to flow.
- Be love.