• shane@countryexec.com
  • Seguin, Texas
Reasons To Value What Is In Front Of You

Reasons To Value What Is In Front Of You

Earlier this month a person very dear to my life passed. My grandmother finally received her much-deserved peace for a life well lived. I found myself taking short notice bereavement, working for the great organization I do they were of course more than supportive. My adopted hometown is some three hundred miles to my actual hometown in the East Texas piney woods. I got up before dawn on the morning of the service and drove the five hours to where it all started. Mrs. Country Exec had to stay back due to the short notice, which gave me a lot of time to reflect as I drove through my beautiful home state. As the miles of Texas countryside added up, I felt the powerful reminder of why it is important to value what is in front of you. The good times, the not so good, and everything in between. Every day is a gift. Moments spent with loved ones become the memories of our lives.

I do my best to try to remember that. Without question I am guilty of forgetting to focus on what is right in front of you on a fairly constant basis. I can snap out of it quickly though. When I think about the slow progression of my life through the years. Mrs. Country Exec, and really just the experience that is my life. As we put a bow on 2021, I’d like to share on those reflections.

The Country Executive - Value what is in front of you

Value What Is In Front Of You – Then

I’ve simultaneously lived a great life, and one full of difficult personal experiences. Both of my parents passed way to young. With my grandmother passing earlier this month, now all four of my grandparents are gone. I’m in my mid forty’s now, and the people that were monumental to my early life are unfortunately no longer here.

When my mother passed in 1984, it was my grandmother that stepped into her role. Willingly, and without hesitation. I was just a child. She had just lost her own daughter, but loved me so much she made sure I had some type of mother figure.

I don’t particularly care to get into the details, but I didn’t live in her household until I was seventeen. As yet another example of why I had to get my act together at a young age, I moved out of my dad’s house with a year left in high school because I couldn’t take his drinking anymore. He just couldn’t get his life together. He was a functioning alcoholic in my opinion, but an alcoholic nonetheless.

It was my grandmother that took me in. She saw that I finished high school, and that I at least had a chance to do something with my life. She didn’t have to do that. I will forever be grateful for her kindness and love. Those are two words I will always associate with her.

Value What Is In Front Of You – Now

As I continued to drive, it was somewhere around College Station, TX I began reminding myself the importance of living in the now. Literally the topic of my November post on this site.

There’s probably not a week that goes by that Mrs. Country Exec doesn’t get annoyed with me. Listen, make no mistake I am a difficult person to be with. I am a type A red personality and then some. Years of my personal life experience morphed me into who I am today, both the good and the bad.

Even as I type this very sentence, I can hear her in the bedroom playing with our dogs. Her laugh, her heart. Our four pups are growling and playing. I can’t see them, but I know what they’re doing. Our third dog, Chase, or number three as we sometimes call him, is an instigator. He’s always messing with the other three. He’s what you might call a hot mess. Those noises emanate through our home every day, and it’s wonderful.

I am cognizant that this will not always be. My life has been a constant reminder of that. So, I remind myself to pay attention to the little things, to value what is in front of you, and to have that gratitude that comes with enjoying the moment.

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Value What Is In Front Of You – Moments

As I was in the home stretch to my destination that day, I stopped in Alto, TX for coffee around mid-morning. I wanted to stretch my legs, take a bathroom break, and really just get out of my Jeep after several hours of driving. I popped into a small coffee shop on the main drag, with a nice young lady working behind the counter.

Somehow at my age I am still a novice coffee aficionado despite my consuming it most every day. I did what I do a lot and asked the young lady what her favorite drink on the menu was. Once confirmed it was something in my wheelhouse, I told her to “sign me up” for her recommendation.

While she was going through the motions, she took a phone call that seemed urgent. She wound up being on that call for the entirety of my time in her coffee shop. It sounded important. She multitasked with precision and eventually handed me whatever it was she recommended. I paid her, thanked her in a low volume, and left her a nice tip.

Seeing Beyond What Is In Front Of You

That day was an important day in my life. There was clearly something going on in her life that day as well. She still served me with a smile. I hope whatever it was worked out. You never know what someone is dealing with.

Maybe that little extra tip helped her out. Maybe she got a laugh out of me admitting to being a coffee dum-dum. Before she picked up her phone call, we talked a little about her small coffee shop. I asked her how business was going. We were just two people that happen to cross paths on a random day and had a brief, positive interaction.

As people I like to think we have the ability to lift each other up. In my professional existence helping others realize their dreams is one of my favorite aspects of being a leader. We should do that for each other both in our professional and personal lives.

You never know what lasting memories will come of living within the moment in front of you. Engaging at that level. Each day is a gift, I believe this is how you pay respect to that gift.

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Value What Is In Front Of You – Family

I finally made it to my destination around noon. I had some time before the service so I stopped for lunch. Afterwards I drove around my hometown for a bit, drove through downtown with all the holiday decorations. Memories came flooding in. I didn’t particularly enjoy my childhood, but there were plenty of good moments that come to mind before the bad stuff pops up.

I drove by my cousin’s old house. Not sure why, but I did. I stopped by the cemetery where my dad was laid to rest so many years ago. An hour was spent walking through the grounds, looking for my father’s final resting place. I checked online. Cross referenced published maps. I couldn’t find him and it hurt me that I couldn’t remember. That will be rectified one day, but I eventually ran out of time due to the pending services for my grandmother.

I left the cemetery and made my way to the church where my grandmothers service was being held. After I parked, I made my way up to the doors where several relatives were talking. I hadn’t seen some of them in more than ten years.

It wasn’t awkward. It also wasn’t somber. My grandmother was 94 years old. She lived a good life. The last ten had been tough after the passing of her husband. She had a difficult battle with dementia.

Value What Is In Front Of You – Respect

Seemingly I was the last person to arrive. Shortly after I got there, I was informed I would be a pallbearer and was ushered inside with some basic directions. My grandmother was such a powerful person in my life I was honored to play any role expected of me that day.

We made it through the service and I had a chance to catch up with a few folks from my past. It was good. There is a rift in my family due to the care required for my grandmother. Thankfully that rift had no impact to me with the various family members at odds. I talked to one side for a while. Gave my number to a few folks.

Afterwards I went to dinner with the other faction. Oddly enough at the same place I had lunch that day. In small town Texas your options are limited. Each side complained a little about the other. I don’t know what to think of that but I hope they work it out. Life is too short clearly. Focus on the positive, don’t let old feelings drag you down. I won’t be playing peacekeeper though. Adults have to figure these things out for themselves.

About dark we said our goodbyes at the restaurant, took some photos, and I began to make the trek back to my adopted hometown. Where Mrs. Country Exec and my crazy dogs are. Where my life is and where I am supposed to be.

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Value What Is In Front Of You – Conclusion

This is the story about one day in my life. An important day. Really just a handful of interactions from that single day.

Despite it being a day traditionally thought of being somber, it really wasn’t. It was a day of respect and remembrance. A day where strangers interacted. When family members dispersed by distance and time picked up where they left off. It was a good day, and one I will not forget.

Imagine if we treated every day as such. If we made a concerted effort to value what was right in front of us. We should. I can speak from experience it can be taken in a heartbeat. Life is notorious for getting in the way. The memories you make today may last a lifetime. Live in the moment, value what is in front of you. Happy holidays everyone. Until next time thank you for reading, and please take care of yourself and the ones you love.