Happy January OEW Family! I hope you all had a great Holiday Season and are ready to hit the ground running in 2022. I know I am, and I’m looking forward to seeing you all at events and gatherings this year.
The letter to start the year comes from a response to the holiday message that went out in our card. I want to start by saying that when I was afforded the opportunity to lead this organization, I asked anyone who had a concern to please let me know because, without candid feedback, I can’t make things better and I am very grateful for this opportunity. I truly appreciate the response because it gave me pause to take an introspective look at what I want to tell my OEW family and allows me to share with you a bit more about how I think and lead. The individual asked why I signed the letter Memento Mori. They thought that maybe it was a bit tone-deaf when compared to the rest of the letter. For those who aren’t fluent in dead languages, Memento Mori is a Latin phrase that means “remember you must die”. That sounds grim when taken at face value, however, when we look at it more deeply, it has a very relevant meaning, especially to those who put their lives on the line.
Many of the ancient philosophers and Stoic leaders like Marcus Aurelius (if you haven’t read his work Meditations, I highly recommend that you do) believed it has a much deeper meaning. For them, it was an inspirational phrase that meant life is fleeting and tomorrow is not guaranteed, so make the most of today. It teaches us that it’s important to be present in the moment and to take stock in and enjoy today’s success. If we look at another Latin phrase, Carpe Diem… seize the day, I think we get another look at what our Stoic ancestors would have us think about today. I’m not talking about the YOLO kind of moment where someone does something ill-informed, but one that reminds us each day is a gift and that we should make the most of it. We shouldn’t waste our time on the trivial or vain but instead, live a life of purpose and meaning. Don’t waste your time on things that don’t matter (now if you think that means things like making your bed or doing the dishes… WRONG. Would you rather come home to a messy bed and a sink full of dishes or take a few minutes to put things in order, and reclaim your day? I bet we all come to the same conclusion…) Try to make yourself, and the world, a little better each day. It’s not about being perfect because perfection is an unobtainable goal. Don’t compare yourself to others because you aren’t them and you don’t deal with their challenges nor do they deal with yours. The only thing worthy of measuring yourself against is you. I’ve told many people, “if you are not where you think you should be, don’t be sorry, be better”.
So, that leads us to my challenge to you. Take a good hard look at yourself and ask one question, “am I better today than I was yesterday?” If you don’t like the answer, FIX IT! If you’re not sure how, FITFO… figure it the F* out. I realize that actual, deep introspection is not necessarily pleasant (and probably shouldn’t be) but it is necessary. It’s the only way to truly get better. Don’t wait for some arbitrary date like the New Year to start your journey. Today is the first day in the rest of your life. Don’t let things go unfinished – tomorrow is not guaranteed. Your best life starts now!
So, to all of you, Memento Mori!