Saturday, December 15, 2012

Make Every Day Count

Yesterday’s senseless tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT reminded me of how short our time is here on this planet. Newtown is about 25 miles from where I live. It’s a quintessential New England small town which I’ve visited many times. It’s got to be one of the safest and most wholesome places in the U.S. to raise kids. Yet, even in a place like Newtown, the lives of two-dozen young people were snuffed out in a flash yesterday. Just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
I have school age kids myself. Pretty scary when your wife calls you from work in a panic ("Did hear there was a shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut?"). At first we didn't know which town or which school.

My kids  didn’t know any of the victims personally, but they played baseball at the Sandy Hook field complex this summer, just a long relay throw away from where the tragedy took place.  Surely the opposing players and coaches had siblings, relatives or neighbors impacted by yesterday’s shocking events. I can’t imagine what they must be feeling today. A close friend of mine had a sports medicine practice in Newtown until just a few years ago. He has elementary school age children and thinks he once treated the shooter and his family.  He lives 1,000 miles away now, but to say he’s shaken up by yesterday’s events is an understatement.

Last month, the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy came to within 10 feet of my home, but did not leave a drop of water in the basement or a single shingle out of place. Many of my neighbors were not so lucky.
Two week before Sandy, my younger sister (one of the healthiest and most upbeat people you’ll ever meet) thought she was suffering from migraine headaches. Her family doctor ordered an MRI just to be safe. Turns out she had a baseball-size malignant tumor in her brain. She had surgery two days later despite a mountain of responsibilities at work, at home and being in the final stages of a campaign for elected office.  No time to re-schedule. They caught it just in time. The chemo and radiation is no picnic, and her life’s been altered forever. But she’s handling the treatment like a champ. She’s able to continue working and hold on to her elected position with only limited side effects and fatigue.

 On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was supposed to be at a 9 am meeting in Jersey City. To make that meeting, I would have been on a PATH train, under the World Trade Center Towers at about 8:45 am—right when the first hijacked plane made impact with the iconic skyscraper. But it was a Tuesday. We had Primary elections that day in my state and I took a slightly later train into Manhattan in order to vote. My cousin, who worked on the 60th floor of the South Tower had a breakfast meeting in midtown that day so he avoided certain disaster and my other sister, who worked at No. 7 World Trade Center, had just bought a home and was moving that day and never came to work. Oh, and my company at the time was scheduled to start leasing space in the South Tower in December of 2001.

Talk about near-misses and good fortune.

No matter how carefully you plan out your life, it’s really just a series of chance encounters, random events and near-misses. Make the most of your encounters and celebrate your good fortune each time you walk away unscathed from a near-miss.

No matter how tired or unmotivated you feel, make sure every day you do at least one of the following things, if not all four:

You’ll never hear any of us here at HB Publishing & Marketing Company say, “What Can You Do?” or “It Is What It Is” or “Same Shit Different Day.” Those are cop outs for not living your life giving your life 100 percent each and every day. We don’t do hire people who use those expressions and we don’t do business with them either.

Life’s too short. Make the most of it.


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