Short Term Long Term

In the early 1980s my family moved to Northwest Arkansas from the Gainesville Florida area. My father got a job working in a family business & off we went. A thousand miles away & twenty years back in time (based on fashion trends & some attitudes anyway). The move promised a better life for our family of Mom, Dad, my sister & another sister on the way. It wasn’t a prized location to move to, at least from my father’s perspective, or at least from my eight-year-old’s perspective of his perspective. However, it was the destination for the opportunity. To be close to family & have a more promising job was a silver lining in the sadness of leaving our beloved Florida.

When we arrived in Arkansas the motto on the license plates was “Land of Opportunity”. They eventually changed it to “The Natural State” for, what many would consider, obvious reasons. It really is a great place to live, depending on your situation, but that’s probably true of many places. We moved there when I was eight & I spent most of my youth there before I started moving around the country. Until I left school, I pretty much despised the place. I assume it’s that way for most kids growing up, but maybe it isn’t. Did you dragons like growing up where you did? I learned to love it more so after the fact, so much so, it became my home base from which I would wander the country. For a long time, whenever I would go back, it just felt like home. It still holds a lot of nostalgia for me.

When I was at the old homestead for a family get together a few years back, I was talking with my father about the house, repairs, plans, and topics of the sort. And Dad said something that has always suck with me. He said, “I wish I would have made the improvements & changes to this place I wanted to over the years. I just never thought we would stay here for 30 years. I thought we would move after a couple of years. 5 years max. Now I realize you should do things when they are relevant. If you want to put in a garden, do it. If you want to build on to the house, do it. Don’t wait.” In fact, over the years, he has referred back to this concept many times. It’s good advice.

Dad held back on projects he wanted to complete, in part, because he was looking to the future instead of focusing on the moment, on the now. If this topic seems familiar, then good. It should. Because now is all we ever have. This topic came up the other day as I was talking with a friend who is looking to create the life he wants. He is actively choosing his future – what it will look like, how it will feel, what his role will be. Long term success is predicated on short term plans. Don’t bet the farm on the short term. Work deliberately, methodically on the long term plans while managing the day to day, but do it now.

Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.
― Earl Nightingale

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