THE BLOG
11/20/2014 02:28 pm ET Updated Jan 20, 2015

Living Life Now, Even If It Is Temporary

Yagi Studio via Getty Images

I am running in the open space by my kids' school after drop off. I covet this time, two mornings a week, to prepare for a day and week of sitting, listening and problem solving; and to be able to listen to my own thoughts. While I know running and exercising is for my physical health, it is far more for my mental health and balance.

I am running on the canyon path surrounded by oaks, looking up at rolling hills and listening to the birds sing, the squirrels scamper and the lizards rush off to cover when I pass. I hear my feet pounding on the earth, and I hear the same thoughts in the background that I have been hearing for years, only lately they have been getting louder and louder. Almost a chant playing in time with my sneakers hitting the ground.

It is all temporary...

Those thoughts range from haunting me, to giving me pause, to invigorating me to seize the moment and day. As I run, I find myself reflecting on my past 14 years as a parent. My 14-year-old needed us all the time. She needed us in her room several times a night. She needed us at school; at parties; at recreational activities; while doing homework. Exhausted for years from sleep deprivation, we wondered when it would ever be over, when would she not need us in this way anymore. She doesn't need us much anymore. She is social, hard working and engaged in life. She used to not want me to leave her room. I now cherish the short check-ins at night in her room between her homework and socializing on her phone.

It is all temporary...

My seventh grader was my companion. He wanted to go places with me. We always had projects. We would go on "adventures." He is all about his friends and long-boarding. He likes being in his private space and playing video games with his friends both in person and remotely. I hear him laughing and animated while playing. He is having fun. I am listening -- outside of his space. I am try to make myself available for the times he wants to connect. They usually come at the busiest times, but I need to do my best to capture them. He is in his life. When he has a need or wants to talk -- about boarding or video games -- I listen and engage. I have learned to take the moment or it passes in a flash. He and I have two shows we watch together. It allows us to joke, predict, and talk about them throughout the week. It is a point of connection and sharing. I hugged him goodbye last week before leaving for a conference. He let me hug him longer than he has in a long time. Then I realized he was playing Clash of Clan on his phone behind me. I didn't care. The long hug felt good.

It is all temporary...

My fifth grader is teetering between childhood and adolescence. She still wants me to lay with her most nights. I cherish this time. I know it is almost over -- forever. We used to read every night. Lately, she reads to herself. She asks me to play cards. She shows me her art, her projects, and her latest fashion ideas. She says, "I love you Daddy" often and kisses me on the lips. The door to her room is mostly open all the time, the others are more often closed.

It is all temporary...

I finally cleaned off and sorted my computer files. I was moving my headshots. There were two about two years apart. I couldn't believe how much I had changed. My wife and I finally got to putting family pictures in frames. About 15 years of smiles (at least in the pictures) were staring at us. How did the time go so fast?

It is all temporary...

My parents are getting older, my extended family and friends are dealing with age and illness. We can't escape it. We get older, we may get sick, and we will ultimately not be here anymore.

It is all temporary...

I sit with clients all day long who are dealing with life adversity. I have done my job long enough now, and lived long enough myself, to know that people can change, circumstance can change, that life's curve-balls can be disguised blessings, and that while we want to know why and when things will happen, we usually don't.

It is all temporary...

I give you the same challenge I give myself -- to embrace and bask in every moment of every day. Life is in the moments. Don't wish your life away. We don't know what the future will bring and you will deal with it and experience it when you get there. All we really have is the present moment -- where you are right now and with whom you are with. Give yourself time to think and reflect. Live purposefully. Be in the now and take it all in. Be brave. Have gratitude for what you have. Accept reality. It is all we have.

Back to hearing my feet pound the earth. I notice the fall light shining through the oak leaves. Birds are flying in the distance. It is peaceful -- right now.

It is all temporary...