Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
We've all heard the old metaphor that life follows the year's seasons, and that we reap what we sow. I've been thinking on that analogy for many years now, and have some thoughts on that whole "reap what you sow" bit.
Spring is birth to age 25. Everything is new, and the colors are vibrant. It's also a bit muddy and messy. The fields are ready for planting.
Summer is age 25-50. The serious work begins. The heat and passions are evident. The crops are growing. The violent storms can ruin everything or clean out space for new growth.
Fall is age 50-75. Harvest season. A time to count and inventory. The sun & sky are beautiful but lack the intensity of summer.
Winter is age 75 to death. A time of quiet, and preparing for rebirth in the Spring.
In my first 47 years of life, I've thought of the sowing in purely monetary and achievement frameworks. I only saw the education, the college degrees, the career work, the 401(k), the money market, the stocks, etc. Consequently I only considered the reaping along the same lines: having money in the Fall, having a successful business, having a really nice house, traveling.
However, in the last 10 years I've had a revelation. The sowing was about human connections. It was about seeds of compassion, gratitude, and generosity. The reaping was about my soul, not my bank account. The reaping was about the harvesting of wisdom and grace. I now see that my financial life can be in shambles but the harvest can be rich nonetheless. My body can be spent and broken, but the real achievement is the love I offered, the hope I maintained, and the lessons learned.
Life keeps teaching me everyday.