I was just recently asked about our journey of change and our intentional shift towards minimalism and meaning, by someone that knows a lot (and I mean, a lot) on the subject. Specifically, the question was if we had found meaning or bigger pursuits. The very inquiry made me realize that I hadn’t really gone back to look at where we were, what we’ve accomplished, and what changes in our life have come about since the dawn of 2017.
And so I wrote – without judgement or over analysis – a brief summary of our journey so far. I realized it’s important to acknowledge that our travels through life have had hills and valleys; times when we've accelerated rapidly towards our goals, and times when we've coasted along life’s path. I also realized that it’s important to have both of these times – that we should not feel poorly about the times when we're the passenger on the ride. In fact, that those "lulls" are times where we are actually enjoying and appreciating the fruits of the efforts we’ve made to move forward. The times of effort are pointless if they aren't appreciated.
It also so happens that today, the Gretzky family is celebrating the life of Walter – perhaps the greatest hockey dad ever. And though I’d heard it many times before, it was one of Walter’s most famous quotes that hit me today.
Go where the puck’s going, not where it’s been.
And so as I reflected back on the last 4 years – while I realized that we have made so many strides forward – that quote reminded me that going to where the puck’s already been is useless. It doesn’t matter that at one time it made sense to be there – what matters is where we will meet the puck next.
Our journey through the last several years has had its moments – and while we look at what’s here today – I’m reminded me that we need to skate to where we want to be tomorrow. It means that no matter what we valued yesterday, last year, or 5 years ago – that what we want to value tomorrow, next year, or 5 years from now – is where we want to go.
This also means of course that things we have held dear or true in the past, or that today may give us enormous comfort, may need to be let go to head to where the puck will be next.
Our path towards less consumption and more meaning has been at times clear and at times cloudy. Some things are simple, some are not. Some are easy, and some require the greatest courage we can muster. Some will work, and some may not.
But, as long as we are always skating to where the puck will be, we know we are making the right decisions.
The next footsteps for our family will be to leave behind the large, comfortable home. While we’ve been successful in reducing and minimizing the inside of our home – the home itself remains a burden. A burden of expense, maintenance, cleaning, and one that creates an environment that encourages storage and consumption. Those empty spaces we once intentionally created - while they have brought satisfaction and tranquility - will ultimately beckon us. They will beg us to fill them, whether we realize it or not. An empty shelf will cry out to be decorated. An empty drawer will yearn for more. An empty closet will demand to be filled. And we have been trained to listen.
There will be tears. When we one day move on from this home – and indeed it has been a home, not just a house – the thing we must remember is that those tears will represent the past. And while the past has been happy, and wonderful, and fruitful; it doesn’t mean we must cling to it at all costs. The past isn’t what will make us happy tomorrow. We’re going to skate to where we really know we want to be – even if that means leaving where the puck is today.
Walter’s quote is so far reaching in so many ways. But much like the person, his phrase remains simple and true to those most important life values.
Wherever you are, we know the puck is on its way.