The day after Thanksgiving this year, I woke up a bit later than I have for most of 2020. I woke up at the same time as my wife and daughter (19mo), which meant I was also downstairs making coffee and waking up at the same time as them.
As I sat in my brown leather chair drinking coffee, my wife took the dog for a walk and I was left to watch the kid. She came walking over with a book and threw it not-so-gently onto my lap.
She wanted me to read to her. And if you know me, asking me to do much of anything before my first cup of coffee is finished is a recipe for disaster.
As 2020 has gone on and is now (finally) nearing its close, I’ve learned a lot about myself. With life slowed down by external factors, it’s been a good time for self-awareness and even self-care for many.
A phrase that has repeated itself in my head many times this year is “this too shall pass.”
This is apparently originally a Persian saying but also appears in places like the Bible, and is meant to convey that in hard times you should keep going because the hard times will pass and good times will come again.
As I’m sure you can imagine, this saying has been solace to me through the tough days of 2020. When things feel really overwhelming, especially when there wasn’t good news of a super effective vaccine and we couldn’t really see a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.
Even though we have that now, the Covid-19 pandemic is still raging in the United States with case and death counts higher than they’ve ever been.
While this saying has been solace in the dark days, it has also served as a reminder to me that we should also be present because tomorrow is not guaranteed and things pass by way too fast.
Some of my biggest regrets right now are not doing certain things before the pandemic hit – going to visit my parents, taking a long trip to Europe with our daughter, that sort of thing.
This saying also reminds me to be present and not begrudge something that I might not “be in the mood” for, such as reading my daughter a book before I’ve finished my first cup of coffee.
There will come a day, in the not too distant future based on how quickly she is growing and changing, where she won’t want me to read her a book. In fact, there will be days where she hates me and doesn’t want to talk to me.
So I put my coffee beside me, picked her up, and read Head to Toe by Eric Carle to her three times before she asked to get “down!” and ran off to go do something else.
As I sat there, I was reminded that I need to savor these days now because they’re not guaranteed tomorrow.
If you’re in the tech/entrepreneurship world and recently heard the sad news about Tony Hsieh (Zappos founder) dying from wounds suffered in a house fire, it’s a stark reminder that tomorrow is not guaranteed.
So to all of this I say “this too shall pass.” Let’s all look forward to brighter days ahead and also not forget the savor the good things still around us these days, because they are indeed there and all we have to do is look for them and appreciate them.