Monday, November 5, 2012

What Matters Most...

“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. It comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.”
~John Wayne

It is funny when I look across the spectrum of people who are evolving and going through life at the same pace as me (people around the same age, and having about the same amount of responsibility as me…), the very definition of aging and the way its celebrated is much different than what it was 5 years ago, 10 years ago…15 years ago J.

I remember in my late teens, looking forward to the age of 18; it was because I thought I’d officially become an adult… I remember looking forward to the age of 21 (and all the years in my twenties) as that was the exact moment when EVERYTHING was supposed to happen. That was when my very own Pandora’s box would open itself up and I would be allowed to resolve all the issues on my own because I was now mature enough and knew it all. During those years, April 30th was the official party date for me. All I knew was that I was a year older, so “let’s party it up!” I wanted all my “friends” and “friends of my friends” around me to help celebrate another year of freedom… Another year of my independence… That was how I saw my birthdays. It wasn't a moment to stop and be grateful for the accumulation of years, it was simply the constant confirmation that I could “do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it,” without worrying about anything that I didn't want to worry about…

For my 30th birthday, they held the 1st celebration/party that was done specifically for me. What I mean is there were family and very close friends at our place singing to me, instead of a bunch of us acting foolish at a club. And I think it was also the last time I felt it was important to celebrate my birthday in the way I had been doing for the previous 10 years.
Going into my thirties was when I started to open my eyes to what (and who) was still around me, where I was in life, and where I was going. At 31, I started trying to hang on to the "carefreeness" but it no longer felt natural… At 32, the friends list, or entourage, started thinning down almost naturally… At 33, did I really have the time? Priorities were becoming more relevant… At 34, I needed more structure, set goals and seek guidance… At 35, another reminder of all I still needed to build up; and what I had to focus on that was important…
April 30th became just another day. Not in a depressing manner, no! I was blessed, I felt blessed… I had a family. I had a career. I had laid the foundation for a successful me and the years became my journey to wisdom. They became my ability to accumulate worthy acumen and gave me an opportunity to weed out any fallacies from my life…

2011 was a defining year in my life… There were “Ahah” moments, life changing moments, decision-making moments, and awe-inspiring moments… That was the year when I truly realized who I wanted to be, how I wanted to live my life and understood what was important in and for my life…

“The most important things in life aren't things.”
Anthony J. D’Angelo

This past weekend I went to my bestie’s husband’s birthday celebration and in attendance only close-knit friends and family members… It was a very small gathering, just what she wanted, and it was very well put together. We enjoyed catching up, life conversations, food and drinks. They are part of a large family on both sides, so it is always a pleasure to see everyone (from parents to siblings to children). All different generations getting together and enjoying each other. Then, like at any gathering celebrating someone, everyone had the opportunity to say something to him. It got very emotional really quickly, my friend did a beautiful tribute to him and their relationship followed by beautiful wishes from his parents (even though I didn't understand all the speeches, as the parents did theirs in Cape-Verdean/Portuguese, it was so easy to sense the sentiments and emotions behind the tone of their voices). Then the siblings spoke of their love for their family and brother, and yet again emotions overtook many. The birthday boy then decided to take control and bring everyone back to the fun celebration he wanted it to be. He thanked everyone for their presence, for their love, and told us how thankful he was to have each and every one of us in his life. He ended his thank you speech with, “I am now 43 years old and in this life there are 2 things I have learned to appreciate, as they are the most important things in life. One is health and the other one is love/family. Without those 2 things we have nothing…”
And that hit home for me… That summed up the why we celebrate our birthdays... That’s what brought tears to my eyes…

What are the most important things in one’s life...?
That’s the most important question you can ask yourself, as the answer will determine the path your life will take. Someone could say money, financial success or career attainment are the most important factors. But what my bestie’s husband said rang true to my ears… health, love/family are most important but I would add one more…Wisdom. The best definition of wisdom that I have ever read is, “Wisdom is needed to achieve the best results in the myriad of decisions”; the best meaning to achieve the best ending!
Those are the most important things in my life; good health is a requirement, love and family is of major importance (I don’t think I could be without it, without them) but above all, I’ll put wisdom. With it, you will know that you have EVERYTHING.

“Wisdom is the principal thing - the most important matter in life. Wisdom is the power of right judgment - the ability to choose the correct solution for any situation. It knows how to think, speak, and act to please both God and men. It is the basis for victorious living. Without wisdom, men make choices that bring them pain, poverty, trouble, and even death. With it, men make choices that bring them health, peace, prosperity, and life” 

While your priorities in life start at the lowest, they change with age and it is your ability to deal with those changes that will determine what’s important for you. When you pass the stage of caring for the irrelevant (such as materialistic possession, career goals, your ranking in life), you quickly realize that what matters are those attainable needs that can’t be seen, measured or touched… they can only be felt.
It’s funny how now (as a mother) when I plan birthday celebrations for my children, what’s important to me is making their celebration small and meaningful with them surrounded by friends I think will be there for the long run (that’s where my wisdom comes into play) and family… Soon, they will be old enough and they will want their freedom. They will want to celebrate their emancipation from us. They will not necessarily want us in their celebration but at least I would have planted in them the importance of 2 of the most important things in life which is health, Family/Love and I will leave the years to teach them about the third most important thing…wisdom…

 How about you? What are the most important things in your life? What are the non compromising things in your life?

To what matters most...


  1. So relevant and right on time. As my 35th approaches I have found myself thinking that what I once thought was important is no longer. I've come to the realization that although things could be better I am blessed. With two beautiful and healthy children and the love of my family and friends, I have a strong foundation to have the best life I can possibly have. So I've started to clean house, figuratively and literally. I also realize that it is time to make my happiness a priority. With all that being said I have witness the growth of your personal journey and you have definitely set the example. So to you I wish more health, love, and prosperity in the years to come!

  2. You hit it Rose with aging and partying with fewer people. I turned 30 and had a party, but for 31 I had a slumber party with a select few. As I age I am constantly redefining what I want and who I allow around me. Its not easy,sometimes I am more obsessed with the memories than actually moving on. -Trudy


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