Originally published in the News-Graphic in 2004.
I talked with a gentleman this week who had passed the middle-age group and is now entering the early stages of what we call seniors.
He had been to visit his doctor because he was somewhat depressed.
His problem was that he had lost his desire to push himself to make more money. All his life he had held two jobs, and his goal in life had been to see how much he could accumulate in material wealth. Now it seems he had lost his desire to do this anymore and he wondered why.
“It’s not depression,” his doctor said. “What you are now facing is prioritizing what is important in life.”
The wise doctor was right. There comes time, as we grow older, when our priority of important things takes on a whole new meaning.
As we continued our conversation, we thought of several people who had spent their entire lives working two or more jobs so they could have the finer things in life.
As we discussed their wealth, we also noted how much discord there had been in their families. Wealth had bought a lot of things, but it had not brought happiness.
Maybe it’s what is called a “senior moment,” or maybe it really is what is important, but my priorities have changed a great deal as Father Time has crept up on me.
To see my children and their children sitting together in church on Sunday morning is a great deal more important to me than seeing them win a trophy for winning some ballgame.
“Granddaddy, when are you going to take me fishing again?” These are the words that find their way to the top of my priority list.
Tucking my granddaughter in at night when she comes for an overnight visit and repeating the prayer my grandmother taught me so many years ago, “Now I lay me down to sleep,” is just one more of those precious moments in life.
It may seem boring to some, but one of my highest priorities is the simple ride in the country in the spring to see the dogwoods blooming or the beautiful redbuds with their purple cast. You can even smell their fragrance if you drive slowly with the window rolled down.
I can’t turn back the hands of time, and I wouldn’t if I could, but I do believe we would all be better off if we took the time to examine our priorities every now and then.
Hard work and wealth can bring you prestige, and prestige can make you feel important, but is that what is really important?
The greatest teacher of all time said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.” He also said, “Lay up treasures for yourself in Heaven, for where your treasures are, there your heart will be also.”
No, dear friend, it is not depression. It is simply realizing your priorities in life have changed.
The treasures you accumulate will be the simple pleasures of life.
George Lusby is the former Scott County judge-executive. “The Best of Crawfish and Minnows,” is available at the News-Graphic office.