I was reminded of this last weekend during a trip to visit my grandparents. My grandfather has been declining in health for some time. He's a scrappy old guy, fighting through several heart problems (multiple bypasses), 2 different cancers, and a slew of other problems. He's 93 and has lived an incredible life.
We made a trip out to the piney woods of East Texas (Sabine county) on a beautiful Sunday morning. He has been an active tree farmer for over 30 years and as a kid I have many, many memories of trips out to the woods. He really enjoyed this trip since he has not been very mobile lately. He also has macular degeneration, leaving him almost completely blind and he's mostly deaf.
As I reflected on everything I learned from him and his life a calm came over me. It was a sad to see his body failing him but it was a stark reminder of the circle of life, which is a beautiful thing. It helped me realize how much I owe to my family and reminded me to always make time for them. And honoring those that came before me instills a humility and humbleness that I'm not sure could come from anywhere else.
I'm often obsessed with productivity, squeezing value out of every last second of the day. And yet, just spending time with my grandfather, not really doing anything, seemed like a priceless activity. Possibly it was even more valuable for him.