Better to be seen than viewed

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Since Christmas break has begun, my oldest son and some of his classmates are back around my house laughing, playing video games, eating and enjoying their break from school. My wife and I enjoy the energy it brings to the house and we are glad they feel comfortable being there. We realize that those times or at least the frequency of those times are going to become less and less through the years, so we do our best to enjoy them even if our house is wide open with activity at 12:30 at night with work looming the next morning.

I have to admit I’m kind of envious of them. I remember the days when I had nothing of any importance on my plate for the immediate future. My worries were very simple. Where was I eating lunch and who was going with me? Was there an open gym to go hoop in that afternoon? And when was I going to see my girl? It was a pretty sweet deal I have to say. I didn’t realize how good I had it.

On the flip side of life’s coin, we all know those carefree days quickly come to an end and this is a crucial point in their oblivious, almost 20-year-old lives. My oldest son and I have been having some discussions about becoming a responsible adult and the different life choices and paths that are going to be coming very rapidly over the next two to three years. It’s time to start thinking past his next chicken biscuit and large sweet tea. In football terms, it’s time to start getting first downs and establish some good field position.

We all know people who stand on the curb while the world parades by and then wonder how they got left behind. It happens in classrooms, ball fields and workplaces every day of the year. Every time we see an example of somebody letting an opportunity slip by around town, in the newspaper or on television, Helen who runs the show at our office, says the same thing, “Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda.” And then, she shakes her head.

Now, I’m not saying I didn’t walk around with the same carefree, naïve demeanor in my late teens to early twenties, (OK, some people may say mid-twenties) but I did have that moment when I saw my path on where I wanted to go. I can take you to the exact spot on N.C. State’s campus where it hit me. Now, I didn’t know how I was going to get there, but at least I had a final destination point.

So, that’s been the theme of the conversations around our house over the holiday break. I’m happy for this next generation of young adults coming along as they enjoy a well-earned break, but major decisions are on the horizon. What’s your career path going to be? Where are you going to live? What kind of relationships are you going to have? What’s important to you?

I’m hoping that this next group of young adults has that moment of clarity like I had and I’m betting some of them already have, but in the meantime, now is the time to get ready for the future.

It’s time to get in the game. Make your mark. Be front and center for once. Go that extra mile. Take your shot at being the best version of you that you can be. Stand up and be recognized. Get yours. Don’t let good opportunities pass you by, because it’s too late after the fact. It’s like I heard a wise man say the other day, “It’s better to be seen than viewed.”

Think about it.