Perception and Reflection
Written By: Troy Tait
A wise man once said, “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you'll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don't know about you, but I'd like to make today worth remembering.” This man was Professor Hill in Meredith Wilson’s play, The Music Man. While Professor Hill was a fictional character, the message he shared hit me loud and clear. This quote became even more meaningful as I have recently experienced a couple of “milestone” events. It is interesting as you gain more experience in life - a.k.a. get older - how your perception of what is really important changes.
As I was sitting at one of these milestones events - which happened to be my son’s high school graduation - I began to reflect on the quote in regard to my relationship with my son. As he took the microphone to welcome his classmates and guests to the graduation, I started to reflect on his time in high school. He accomplished many great things. He was a multi-sport letterman, an All Region Academic Honors student, member of the National Honor Society, Honor Roll student, Advanced Diploma recipient, District Student Advisory Council member, leader in student government and much more. By many standards he had what most people would call a successful high school career.
But at that moment my focus wasn’t on those accolades or how decorated he was at graduation. All I wondered was how many times had I pushed him off to “tomorrow,” resulting in empty yesterday’s? Did he feel he had my support as he went through his high school career? Was I there when he needed me to be there? I quickly reviewed the last 18 years and came to the realization that I must have done something right or he wouldn’t be where he was. Granted, my wife is really the one who deserved most of the credit, but I guess maybe I did have a little positive influence.
After he sat down from giving his welcome speech, I was able to settle in and really enjoy the rest of the program. It is amazing how quickly time flies. It seems it was just yesterday when he started. Over the years we’ve learned and grown, gone through many successes as well as some failures and challenging times together. In the end, we survived. We learned, progressed, and now there he was graduating from high school getting ready to take the next step in life.
Life is challenging and at times it is difficult to balance all the different things that need to be done. Sometimes it’s hard to not put things off until tomorrow, and sometimes doing that will cause us to miss things that are important. In my opinion, as long as we are trying to be the best we can to make the world a better place, to help those closest to us, then at the end of the day we can hold our head high and know we did our part.“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you'll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don't know about you, but I'd like to make today worth remembering."
It is times like this that remind me how important it is to work for an organization that has great values. A company that is understanding and allows employees the time to do the things that they need to do. One that is involved in the community and actively trying to make a difference. Never sacrificing the needs of the organization or putting us at risk, but always being willing to listen and do what should be done.
I echo Professor Hills advice, and act now when possible. Be present in the lives of those you care about. Put down the phone, stop and smell the roses, take the long way home, eat ice cream, and most of all, don’t pile up too many tomorrows or you will just end up with a bunch of empty yesterdays. Do all you can to make today memorable.