October Air

October is a transition month for me. In October, we see the weather change for the season, the Canadians lift and head to warmer weather, the leaves turn, and the air, while not yet cold, turns crisp, and to breathe it will be exhilarating. One day will mark, almost without fail, the plunge into dark mornings with headlights guiding the way as sunrises and early light grow later and later.

One day in October will also mark another year in age for me personally. It is also the month when I tend to do a personal accounting, which may come from 24 years of working with a 10/31 fiscal year end.

I reflect on where I am professionally, with family and spouse, with friends, and the individuals I work with. I review our assets and liabilities, not just financial, but on a few different metrics. I look at my relationships with the spirit and with life. I ask am I where I want to be and for the last several years the accounting has led to change.

Three years ago I made the decision that it was time to retire. Eighteen months ago we transition from the corporate world to the nonprofit world. Good friends provided support and advice, and my wife and my best friend gave me the support to change. They asked great questions, offered some stop signs, and really helped me understand the motivation and reality of change. Some observations:

  1. Life is short and each day is an opportunity.
  2. It is okay to move on. In fact, it is very healthy.
  3. All that planning and saving mattered.
  4. Passion matters, in relationships and in your life’s work.
  5. Risk is relative.
  6. Perspective is relative.
  7. What you need is really way less than what you think.
  8. What you really need is way more than you know.
  9. Results and actions matter
  10. Integrity and reputation are the real currencies.

Finally, number eleven is that a goal, a purpose, is vital – as life is all about choice and trade-offs. Without a purpose, you will make decisions, but they will be out of context. The value of a goal is that it provides a roadmap and metrics to measure decisions and progress.

A random life is just that: random. A life with purpose provides a structure, and structure makes a difference. I know that life is a journey, but the reality is that a destination made just becomes a new starting point.

Travel light, enjoy the sights, carry out your trash, and remember to travel. You need to get off the couch. At the end of the day, all that we all want is to lead an interesting life and to do work that matters … and to breath that crisp October air.