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Life Happens – Remember the Big Picture

Picture of Karl Palachuk

Karl W. Palachuk
February 8, 2009

Sometimes we let life get ahead of us. We find ourselves responding to the moment instead of keeping track of our own long-term vision about life.

Unfortunately, I have rheumatoid arthritis, an immune disorder in which the body attacks the joints.

Fortunately for me, I just passed my tenth anniversary with this disease. Fall of 2008 represented ten years since the sudden onset of R.A. Why is that fortunate? Because I’m not yet crippled by it. I still walk reasonably well. I’ve had one surgery with no complications.

For R.A., that’s pretty good!

In that ten years I’m grown a few businesses, made a bunch of money, lost a bunch of money, made it back, and recently lost some again.

Life goes on.

In that period I have also added ten years to my marriage. We’re coming up on 18 years. Not bad by any standard.

I’ve also raised a little kid into a big kid. My daughter is 16 and thinks she’s 26. In the big picture, she’s healthy, doing well in school, and staying off drugs.

In that ten years we’ve bought houses and sold houses. My wife has changed jobs. I’ve changed one business around and started another.

We’ve had one dog and one cat pass away in that time. But we’ve added a little dog and two big cats.

Somewhere along the way, we picked up a bunch of new friends, both locally and all over the globe. Ten years ago people feared that computers and the internet would separate people from one another. But human beings are social animals. We found ways to expand our social circles online.

We go through life.

I like to ask audiences to think about the last ten years. Any ten years, really.

Consider: Ten years ago, you probably . . .

– Lived in a different house
– Had a different job
– Had different friends
– Drove a different car
– Enjoyed different hobbies
– Wore different clothes

and . . .

– Your family was different
– Your income was different
– Your daily habits were different

and so forth.

You get the idea: Virtually every aspect of your life will be different ten years from now. All those changes will take place one day at a time, one choice at a time, one tiny thing at a time.

But no matter what happens along the way, remember that YOU get to choose how you’ll make your way. In other words, you can decide whether the next ten years will happen to you or whether you’ll actively participate in how your life evolves.

Working on your life doesn’t have to be a big, difficult job. If you set the long-term goals, and remind yourself of them from time to time, you’ll just tend in the direction you want to go.

Try it. Give it time. Lots of time.

After all, you have the rest of your life to become who you want to be.


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