Mar 1, 2023 4:34 PM

This past weekend, my family traveled to a small community in west Texas to attend my wife’s grandmother’s funeral. The 4 hour journey would be much needed rest and recalibration for my soul.

Life is complex. It starts out simple. We are born into this world needing only the very basics to survive. A person or people who love us and want to be sure all our basic human needs are met. We need to be fed, kept safe, and human interaction. As we grow, the complexity of our needs grow. We begin to develop desires which further create complexities. Much like nature, left to itself will grow without boundaries and take over. Life continues to repeat cycles. These cycles continue to loop and repeat until the inevitable happens, and we complete our final lap.

Watching my wife’s grandmother make her final lap was sad, hard, and enlightening. For me, it pushed me to reflect on the direction of my own life. I’ve attended family funerals before, but I think having more life experience was the variable that pushed me into thinking more deeply about life as our family faced death and transitioned a loved one from this world to the next.

The family stayed an at AirBNB in a small town in west Texas. The place we stayed in was a large mid-century modern estate that sat on top of a hill over looking the small town of Coleman, Tx. I believe this location and architecture had a profound impact on me as well. The house was nicknamed “Stardust”. It was furnished with mid-century designs. Styles of Atomic design and vintage appliances made us feel like we stepped back into time. With an open floor plan and wonderful use of natural light coming from floor to ceiling windows and skylights, there was a calm but lively presence in this house.

The house is of an era and time when Americans were stepping into ideals and habits that are all to common place today. The middle class was expanding at a rate like never before. More people had more money. Entrepreneurs took advantage of these changes and created sprawling suburbia and marketed consumerism. The automobile industry was also taking off along with the space race. As I read some of books this house had on the coffee table, I begin reflecting on this era of Americana and the impacts it has had on me and our environment. As I am drawing my own connections and considering the implications of this era, my family is also grieving and dealing with the loss of a loved one. Most of the conversation reflecting on good memories. The architecture of the home made gathering together easy and natural. Furniture was not designed to be central to the TV or any other technology, . It was refreshing.

I’m having a hard time setting up the right context here. For me, there is a lot of intangibles. I’m trying my best to grab for the right words to describe this journey over the past few days. I’m realizing so much of life is fleeting. Our American world is constructed to consume and keep up with the Jones’. We are taught that money brings status and with status brings joy. But there is no amount of things or titles that overcome the inevitable end. The real things we should be chasing are memories with those we love. We should be shifting away from chasing a consumer career centric lifestyle, to one where we find the most time to be present with the people we care about. The things that impact people the most aren’t how successful were or the collection of our achievements. It’s our words and the time we spent with them that matter the most.

It’s time. No matter your economic status, we all are confined to operate in the same amount of time. The past few days have encouraged me to spend it more wisely. To not aimlessly toil to increase the amount of stuff I have or trade titles for moments with those I care for most. It’s time we all took a moment to begin each day thinking of the end. Let that urgency help prioritize our days. So that when people gather together to remember us, it’s filled with so many good memories and experiences and even fewer regrets or missed opportunities. It’s these memories and stories that get told about how we lived that is our legacy. It’s also the thing that will inspire others to carry us with them in their hearts and in everything they do.