You are the youngest you’ve ever been; start appreciating it. You’re the oldest you’ve ever been; start acting like it.”                            

As many of my readers know, I have been writing these newsletters for the past several years.  As an author with the goal of providing a simple message with a point, I believe that there has never been a better practitioner of this medium than Erma Bombeck.  For years, Ms. Bombeck wrote a syndicated column which imparted wit and wisdom to America.  Today’s message is based upon one of Erma’s best missives.

Joe is a typical family man.  He has a good wife and three kids.  Joe loves his family, but his secret passion is his backyard.  He prides himself on his verdant turf in the same way that a car buff pampers his vintage Corvette.  Joe tinkers with fertilizer and watering patterns in the same way that vintners fret over sunlight and soil acidity.  As a result, Joe is uncharacteristically annoyed by the abuse that his lawn suffers at the hands (and feet) of his kids and their friends.  Baseball diamonds create odious worn baselines.  Swing sets leave wear marks.  And Fido excavates for long buried bones.  By the time school re-opened after Labor Day, Joe’s gorgeous emerald carpet looks like, well…..a grade school playground.  As Joe looked out his patio window, he shook his head and muttered to his unsympathetic spouse, “Look at the condition of my once gorgeous lawn.  Will it ever come back?”

Years pass and, predictably, Joe’s valued backyard has healed itself.  No worn pathways.  No holes.  No divots or gouges.  Only a field of lush Kentucky bluegrass.  But the kids have grown and are gone.  Little Leaguers and tiny ballerinas have become teachers, carpenters, and engineers.  Only holidays generate occasional visits.  Careers and kids’ games and dance schedules limit contact to a disappointingly low level of frequency.   

Now, as Joe surveys his immaculate greenery, he laments, “Will they ever come back?”  As the old saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for because it may come true.”

Homework for the week:  What are you overlooking today as you hope for a greater future?

Appreciate what you have today before time makes you long for what you had.