Like No One is Watching

Sometimes you don’t even notice the people watching.

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I mean, we’re all busy right? So many tasks to complete in a certain number of hours and only a certain number of hours in a day, can leave everything in a little bit of a blur. Constant working and feeling like you never get anywhere can leave you really frustrated and focused on all the bad things going on; even like your work was worth it.

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I recently left an agency where I had a leadership role. The past year or so, I felt stagnant and voiceless; a few months ago, I decided as soon as I finished my agreed upon term, I was going to resign. I felt it was better not to “waste” any more of my time. So, for the last few weeks I have been prepping my replacements, giving them information, who to ask for what, how to avoid regular road bumps of people’s personalities. Yesterday, I turned over my keys to my replacement and punched out for the last time. Just before I did, something unexpected happened.

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People came up to me one at a time in the last few hours and said: Thank you. Thank you for doing a good job, working hard, helping out. Finally, my partner came up, I could see on his face he was about to say something mushy. He went on to wish me good luck and that we’d probably see each other at the hospitals and then…

“…thank you for teaching me.”

Wow. Just wow. I am so humbled on so many levels; mostly that someone thinks anything I had to say helped them become a better healer, to use their hands, head, and heart to take care of others. This whole time I didn’t think anyone was watching, using the work I was putting in. I thought maybe the whole thing was a waste of time.

It was me looking in the wrong place.

I was looking for acknowledgment from those who would never be moved. I was so zeroed in on their obstinance that I couldn’t see the people who did matter: the people I was leading and teaching by example.

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Some days I am so mad with EMS and all our shenanigans and tantrums and prima donna antics that I could just spit. I wonder if anything will ever change with just the minority of forward thinkers ready to depart from the ideas of yesteryear. But then, every so often, you find out someone WAS watching. What will you be teaching them?

It seems appropriate at this time to say thank you to all the people I watched when I was a new guy and watch today to learn how to be a better provider, leader, and human being. Every day I realize there are even more than I thought, when I remember an appropriate story or anecdote related to a present situation. Yes, that even includes folks I don’t care for very much because they left a sour taste in my mouth. I thank all of you, thank you for letting me watch and learn, thank you for sharing that part of yourself.

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Magic Is Not Just For Harry Potter

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The pulse at his jugular notch was racing. I could count it’s beats visibly without palpation. I wondered at the intricate systems that worked to keep a heart beating and continue the magic that is life.

Then I solemnly remembered that one day that pulse would be stilled and the magic of the soul would disappear. I wasn’t sad or even angry, rather encouraged to use up my magic before it is spirited away suddenly. I was reminded of a conversation I had earlier in the day.

“Let the thing you regret be not working enough EMS shifts. Not, not spending enough time with your family.”

Many of us, including me, get caught up in the to do lists of life and miss small moments of wonderment that present themselves unexpectedly. We all need to work and have daily obligations for our day to day to function, but one day there will be no more “tomorrow” to fritter away. We need to be mindful of both large goals and small moments of wonder for the fuel to keep going and feel fulfilled.

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Love those who are precious to you. You never know when you, or they, will be gone.

Be Contagious

We spend our days complaining about how life what isn’t what we expected or how we haven’t reached our expected timeline instead of accepting that, letting it go, and focusing on our dreams.

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I’m too old.

I can’t afford it.

I’m not that smart.

I’m (insert any excuse here).

Life is hard. No one warns you about getting kicked while you’re down or what reality is like when you are young and idealistic. What makes an individual remarkable is that they prevail despite every unfair and awful thing that tries to intervene. If you were dying today, what would you want to leave as your legacy?

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We are all dying right now.  Put aside what you “think” you should be doing and live your passion. Don’t make excuses, just start to do it. Share it  and yourself with others. That is what builds a legacy.

Three responders from my area died in the line of duty this week, all cut down in their prime.  Their lives were electric and touched many people because they loved and were passionate about life. They pursued their dreams and impacted many people on the journey. Their legacies live on in our hearts via their examples of how to live life contagiously well.

If God graces me with another day tomorrow, I hope I can do those legacies justice and celebrate the lives of those individuals by starting to live my life contagiously and stop letting excuses steal my legacy.

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