Grocery List: October 6, 2013 (or Another Post Where I Get Philosophical About Everything)

photo-1It’s over.

At about 1:30 on Saturday afternoon, we locked up the office and bid an official end to the 2013 Walk To End Alzheimer’s season. Syracuse’s walk was amazing, thanks to many of you. The $1,400 or so that friends and family contributed to The Wife and I was part of more than $146,000 that was raised at the event. That was a record for fundraising. It was also the largest ever crowd at the event. When the official count is done, we’ll be very close to 1,200 people.

The best part about Walk is the fact that it is over and not from the “Yeah, I get my weekends back” way (although, that’s nice too). No, the best part is looking back to see what has been accomplished. Nearly 3,000 people came out in CNY this year to Walk. I don’t remember exactly how much we raised at all of our walks, but $300,000 sounds like a nice round number right now, with more to come in. So, if you haven’t made a contribution, you can do so by going to my page or The Wife’s page. We close the doors on fundraising at 11:59 p.m. on October 31 (I’ll actually get up and flip the switch on the websites that night.).

Yesterday’s Walk was particularly moving as we had a moment of silence for two people who passed recently. You have heard me wax poetic about Marty Manning. Joining him in our tribute was Trish LeSoine. Trish worked for Lockheed Martin, where she was the team captain of their Walk team. Trish’s mother had Alzheimer’s and she had been involved with the Alzheimer’s Association and Walk in numerous roles over the years, including a couple of years as the planning committee co-chair. Trish died in her sleep on Sept. 20.

I’ve been giving death a lot of thought over the past few months, with Marty’s, Trish’s and Rob Edson’s passings. I really don’t like the cliches about living life to the fullest, living like your going to die and making every day count. I don’t think every day has to count (I plan on sleeping and grocery shopping today) and I don’t know what living life to the fullest means. What I do know is that we have a finite and random amount of time to do something meaningful, to make our mark. Me? I’ve left footprints (some larger than others), but I long ago decided that I wanted my mark to be a small crater. I haven’t figured out what that means or how that is going to happen, but I know that the clock is ticking. The balance to that is the fact that I’m not desperate for honors or attention or hungry for accolades. I also decided a while back that whatever happens happens and if I can control it, I will. And, if I can’t, well…I’ll do what I can do (and spit and swear about it later).

There’s too much unimportant stuff that goes on around us that seems to get in the way of the important stuff. Stress and anxiety are part of all our lives to one degree or another. I think that our jobs should be challenging. Work should be hard. But, at the same time, I wonder what job is worth stress and anxiety bleeding into your home life. I did that dance before, and the best thing that ever happened to me was getting laid off from the stress inducement factory I worked at a dozen years ago. I look back and wonder how much worse it could have been had I held on to my job and whether it would really be worth it.

My stock comparison of that job to the one I currently have is that now I work for a cause. My day-to-day work is about raising money and awareness for a reason, not for a person (such as the CEO and sole owner of a company). I think that believing in what you do and who/what you work for matters when defining your overall happiness and state of being. It is a huge lens on whether all the stress, all the late hours, all of the weekends lost and all of the moments that you miss are either worth it (it being whatever paycheck, notoriety, prestige, and tangible or intangible benefit that comes from the job).

And if it’s not worth it, I think you have to at least answer the question of whether you can live with those things.

Today, at the end, as I look back, I believe that this Walk season was worth it.

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