The recent news about the passing of SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg caught my attention not just because he was in the tech industry, like I am, or that he was married to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg which made him somewhat more famous than most, but because he was 47.
Yeah, I work in a similar industry, and will turn 47 in a few months.
The news has made me pause and think about my life. Then I read Kevin O’Keefe’s piece, inspired by Dave Winer. If Not Now, When?
Technologist and godfather to blogging, Dave Winer (@DaveWiner), on news of Goldman’s death posted to Facebook “If not now, when?” He said “It’s time to do whatever you were sent here to do.”
My wife and I have become fond of saying that we need to make the best of whatever days we get together. Normally that has been in response to my travel schedule, which has been a bit heavier than expected. Underlying that context though, has always been the implied understanding that we will both, eventually, die. So who knows how many days we will actually have by the time it’s all said and done? I certainly hope we still have years and years to spend together, and enjoy our lives, explore new places and so on, but there are no guarantees. Why not do the things we want to do together whenever we get the chance to? Who knows if we’ll really get another chance to do them?
I know Kevin’s piece talks more about professional decisions, and I totally agree. I look at what I do now, and the opportunities I have to travel and explore new places, but also understand that I won’t be able to do this forever. Heck, I don’t want to do this forever. Eventually, I know I’m going to want to be closer to home, not traveling around and only spending weekends, at best, in my home, but for now, I try to enjoy the travel as much as I can, whether that means taking some time to explore the areas I’m in, catching a sporting event in a new place, like I did with the Islanders-Capitols playoff game in DC or a Dodgers game in LA as I did last year, or just checking out some local food or brew. Really, who knows if I’ll ever get back to that place again? I should probably take advantage of it more.
So like everyone else, I struggle with that elusive work-life balancing act. (Though, to be honest, there is no such thing as work/life balance, you live a life regardless of how much of it is spent working. We all make a choice about where we spend our time and mental energies) How much is too much time away from home? What is it that I want to accomplish? I know what I want to accomplish, professionally and personally. But I have to make sure that I’m spending my time pursuing those and not putting them off, or allowing other people to prevent me from pursuing those goals.
Also, like everyone else, I don’t keep in contact with the people I care about as much as I should. I don’t take advantage of the time I have to interact with them, even if’s it’s just sending a text to let them know I’m thinking about them. I get caught up in dealing with work, or other things that shouldn’t be as important. Who knows how many chances I’ll get to have these interactions? Who knows how many people’s lives can be improved, even a little bit, just by knowing that someone thinks about them, and wants to say hello? How many chances am I going to have to do that?
After all, if not now, when?
What goals are you putting off that you shouldn’t? What can you do about that?