In his essay supporting the rise of women in the business ranks, Warren Buffet, head of Berkshire Hathaway and one of the richest men in the world, offers two explanations for why it’s been difficult for women to rise to positions of leadership. The first is a male reluctance to double the number of his competitors. The second is a sentimentality for the status quo. (“Warren Buffett is Bullish…on Women,” by Warren Buffett, Fortune, May 20, 2013, pg. 122)
Both explanations make sense but the second, the reluctance to admit change, struck me as being especially true for all of us. Currently, I’m considering a move to a retirement center. Planning for the last stage of my life is particularly hard to accept, yet I know I must exercise the same, careful stewardship of my closing years as I’ve tried to do for the earlier ones. Still, there is a longing in my bones and in my joints that looks back rather than forward. Longing, I know, is a foolish occupation, but the heart doesn’t listen.
Recently, I had coffee with a friend who is about to turn 50. In his early years, he was a dancer. Happily for him, dance is still a part of his life. He is the ballet master and choreographer for a prominent dance company and young enough to peer into the future with ambitious eyes. Even so, his world isn’t perfect. He would prefer to be living in Oregon. He would prefer to be closer to his family.
His longings are understandable but a waste of time. “If only,” is a disease that kills the good.
I wish I could convince my friend that there is no status quo, no moment of ideal perfection to be obtained and held. A smile one moment will soon be followed by a tear. Life is a conveyor belt that moves in a single direction. Looking back at what has passed it pointless. Peering ahead is impossible. All we are allowed to do is explore the moment. We make a good life day by day. Ignore that truth then all that’s left is the emptiness of “if only.”
(Courtesy of www.visualphotos.com)