Life is A Series of Goodbyes: 2 Ways I Managed the Last One

I figured out a long time ago that in life, we say goodbye a lot. Not just the end of day, “See you tomorrow” kind but the “I’m not sure we’ll ever see each other kind.” And every kind of goodbye in between.

Saying goodbye is hard.

And it seems that no matter how many times you do it, it doesn’t get easier.

You’ve probably said your share of goodbyes too and most of the time, you wish you didn’t have to.

As a teenager I visited my mentor who had moved from Ontario to BC. When our two-week visit was over he drove me back to the airport, pulled up to the departure doors, stopped long enough for me to grab my bags, gave me a quick hug and drove off. Apparently he hated goodbyes. We laugh about it now.

Yup, life is a series of goodbyes alright.

  • when we move
  • when we change jobs
  • when we graduate
  • when a friend moves away
  • when children leave home
  • when a colleague gets fired
  • when we get downsized
  • when we break an old habit to start a new one
  • when we break up with someone
  • when a new chapter begins

2 Ways I Managed to Say Goodbye to My Son

This past Saturday we dropped off my son at the Toronto airport; something we’ve done a few times over the past year. But this time was especially difficult. Mostly because he may be gone for 2 years. There’s a chance he could come home for a brief visit, but that’s not guaranteed.

Everything from check-in to customs went as smooth as possible and within minutes he was gone. I strained to look over the barriers for as long as I could (security kept pushing me back) before he disappeared.

That all too familiar lump in my throat and pain in my chest was back. And I didn’t like it…not at all.

He had only been home for a couple of months but I enjoyed every moment we had. Which is one of the reasons it was so hard to say goodbye.

So my heart is a little raw today as my mind routinely flashes to Los Angeles to picture what he is doing and how he is settling in. I’m actually sitting in the dark listening to sad music as I write this.

(1) Children are a gift from God, but not one I get to keep for myself

It’s true that when we first married, I didn’t want children at all. But children certainly are a blessing and we are privileged to have a daughter and son now both in their 20’s.

From the time our children were very young we tried to have a vision for their lives moving forward. We’d talk about the future, their strengths, their interests and dreams and together we would paint verbal portraits of possibilities. Those pictures never included them staying at home into their 40’s and living in the basement as a tenant, so I guess I should be encouraged that Alex is spreading his wings.

In fact, we want our kids to be healthy functioning adults prepared to set a course for themselves.

I’ve loved every stage of our kids growing up; but they’re at the stage where saying goodbye is hard. They’re not just going to a friend’s for a sleepover or summer camp for a week. It’s tougher now…and yet at the same time a good thing. I have to remember that he was never mine to keep for myself.

(2) God has a better plan for his life than I do.

This may sound weird, but I guess we’ve kind of seen our kids as being on loan to us as we had the privilege of parenting them. But our parenting is basically done now. We still have a relationship with them, in some ways, better than ever. But it’s different now.

Maybe I’ll need to trust God more than ever too?

Faith has been central to our family which means we’ve tried to recognize that our lives are meant for something bigger than our family. They are meant to bring glory to God by how we live out his plans for us. We haven’t always been great at focusing on that, but it’s true nonetheless.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph 2:10

I love this verse. Imagine…God has things for us to do and He’s determined them long before we were even born. How awesome is that? When it comes to our children we have simply encouraged our kids to get to know God and determine how He has created them to do the things He wants them to do.

To me this is the secret to a fulfilling, meaningful life.

Out of a relationship with God, discover who you are, how He’s gifted you, and what He has for you to do. Then do it for His glory and for the sake of others.

I think this is a good plan for anyone’s life too. Have a relationship with God; discover how He has uniquely made you and gifted you, and discover the things He wants you to do with the opportunities He gives you.

How about you?

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be?

Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.

Are You a Spectator Or a Player?

Super Bowl LI is in the books and whether you’re a fan or not, it probably got some of your attention. Even if you hate sports, maybe you made a snack for a family member or friend group; or you just couldn’t get away from the office pool and the accompanying trash talk from raving fans. Or your social media feed was littered with predictions leading up to the game.

According to almost 112 million people watched the game, in the US alone. Add an additional 50-75 million viewers from another 170 countries and you’ve got yourself a show.

Viewers consumed a lot more than 4 hours of TV too. Do you know how much food was consumed during the game? I did some digging and found these numbers. These are conservative and only reflect consumption in the United States:

1.25 billion chicken wings…yes that’s a b

11 million lbs of chips

1 in 7 households (48 million) will order take out food…60% being pizza

8 million lbs of guacamole

55 million cases of beer…cases…I don’t know what 55 million x 24 is but, wow. The tab? 10.8 billion dollars.

Those are staggering numbers…all for a football game.

Hey, I watched the game and ate my share of wings that night too, so who am I to judge?

But now that the game is over, maybe it’s time to think about something more important than a football game (I can hardly believe I just wrote that line). But hear me out.

It’s one thing to watch a football game. There’s nothing wrong with watching great athletes compete and it’s a great excuse to get together with friends and family too. For a few hours it can be a lot of fun.

But are you living your life as a spectator or a player? I might be touching on a sensitive area, especially if you have a spouse who is glued to the TV all weekend, every weekend, to watch a sport you have no interest in.

Question: How much time do you spend watching the lives of other people rather than focusing on your own life?

How much time are you watching ESPN or reading the sports page (does anyone do that anymore?). Or how much time do you listen to sports talk radio?

Again, there is nothing wrong with any of those things. And just in case you think I’m picking on sports fans, I’m not. There are others who couldn’t care less about sports and don’t see the point at all. But that doesn’t prevent some people from watching TMZ or reading People magazine or obsessing on Facebook…watching others live their lives.

Are we more interest in the lives of other people than our own?

Darren Hardy suggests that the difference between successful people and those who are not, is there E2E ratio…entertainment to education ratio. While 95% of people spend their extra time on ease & entertainment, the successful 5% spend more time investing in themselves…their learning and growing, rather than being distracted by the lives of others. Instead of excessive amounts of time and energy spent on the lives of athletes and hollywood stars, they strive to improve themselves.

What would it mean to you, to focus on living your own goals and dreams rather than watching other people live out theirs?

I’m not saying we shouldn’t ever enjoy the distraction of a game or  TV show but there might be a few things we can do to enhance our lives too.

Instead of sports radio…a podcast

Instead of ESPN…an online seminar

Instead of ETalk Daily…a book or instructional media

Instead of talking about the lives of other people…talk about your own goals and dreams; or encouraging someone with theirs.

Q. Is there an area of your life that has been neglected? Have you been on the sidelines rather than playing? Maybe your marriage needs attention or relationship with a child? Maybe your own health has suffered while watching athletes enjoy theirs? Maybe that “thing” you’ve always wanted to start is still waiting for you to take the first step?

Stop watching and start living. It’s time to get back into the game. Stop being a spectator and start playing!

Q. What one area of your life is in need of attention? Where can you start today?

Q. What’s stopping you?

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be?

Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.