“Wherever you go, there you are.”
It’s been a full few weeks for me.
In April, I completed the manuscript for a new book: Things That Matter will be released in Spring 2022.
In May, my son graduated high school. We had 14 family members in town for the celebration and spent the entire week together. Following the graduation ceremony, we hosted a party in our home for our closest friends.
Immediately after, we left for a short beach vacation with just the four of us. Lying on the beach with a book for a few days was a helpful juxtaposition compared to the focused whirlwind of the previous month.
I spent the vacation trying to detach from as many things as possible. No email, no obligations, no social media… just resting and being together with family.
However, I did notice about halfway through the trip that I was never able to fully disconnect from one thing: myself.
The exact moment I had this realization was one afternoon when I was floating alone in the middle of the ocean. (Well, not technically the middle, but quite a few feet offshore).
The sun was shining, the water was warm, and I was simply being tossed to and fro by the incoming and outgoing waves. I wasn’t moving forward, wasn’t moving backward, I was just floating in relative quietness.
While floating, a work project came to my mind. Something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while but haven’t yet started. That thought led me to another thought about work… which led me to another.
I didn’t really want to be thinking about work, so I tried to push it aside and think about something else. I started to think about my son leaving home in August and if we’ve done all that we could to prepare him for life on his own. I’m proud of how we’ve raised him, but I can’t help but have some regrets along the way as well.
Some of the mistakes got me thinking about a few of my friends at home who had recently been through a similar life change and how I should probably be asking them for advice on navigating this new season of life.
That thought, somehow, morphed into thinking about a close friend who is about to be married and how they are just starting a new life together and wondering if my wife and I might be able to help in any way. Which then got me thinking about my own marriage and how I’m doing as a husband…
As I floated and my mind considered more and more aspects of my life, an important reality came to mind: No matter where you go, you can never escape yourself.
Wherever you go, however far you travel, regardless of how hard you try to disconnect, you will always be there.
You will always be you. You can travel to the ends of earth, but you always take yourself with you.
The wise decisions we make each day about how to invest our time and money and talents are carried with us every day forward. As are the foolish decisions we make.
The changes that we are making, whether for the positive or the negative, are the changes we will reflect upon for the rest of our lives.
The habits we form, the relationships we foster, the parenting strategies we employ, the work we choose to do, the character and integrity we pursue… all contribute to the person we spend time with in the future.
No matter where you go, you will always be there. Make sure it’s someone you want to spend time with.