…So a leader I very much respect recently announced he was pursuing another opportunity. When I first found out, my immediate reaction was to be happy for them; after all, professionally speaking (as in other contexts) people move on. And as both an HR pro and human being, my default place is to wish everyone the best when they come upon this moment in their own lives.
With that said, my second thought was “I wonder if I’ve seen this person for the last time?”, which is of course a perfectly valid question since – as a practical matter – many people that we know in a work context disappear from our lives once said context changes.
How many other people have faded from my life the same way – and vice versa? I’ve spent the better part of an hour thinking about it, and I’m not quite sure… I lost count long ago. There have been at least a hundred people of some significance – probably more.
…People that were there until they weren’t. Some are acquaintances that are now barely a memory, while others touched me deeply in ways that ensured my life will never be the same. But – regardless of the impact they made on my life – each relationship shares a common transience that in the aggregate encapsulates the temporary nature of all things.
…I think that what I’m getting at here is that we don’t really know when the end is coming – and we can’t really pick where it will be and what it will look like. I suppose that I would say this is why it’s important to treat each moment with a person as if it might be your last, but this is jointly impractical and inadvisable at the same time.
Instead, I suppose I would recommend that we all try to appreciate the significance of the moments that really matter. For they are both fleeting and defining; failing to make the most of the moments that matter often leaves one feeling that they haven’t truly lived a life well lived.
And in the end, looking back on your life and feeling that you’ve lived it well is what matters, yes?