I’m not much of a morning person. I figure if God wanted us to get up a 5 am he would have made the sun come up at 3 am. Nope, I’m much more inclined to enjoy the sun setting than rising. Several years ago a good friend of mine and I decided to get up early and photograph the sunrise. It was an early start on what would be an enjoyable day. But boy did I struggle with my photography. Why? Because everything was backwards! I’ve photographed hundreds of sunsets over the years. I know the routine, which clouds are likely to light up first and how to observe the horizon to see if the best photo might actually happen as late as 20 minutes after the sun sets.
So while the sunrise and sunset are very different in my mind, in reality they are very much the same. Despite knowing that I’ve guess I’ve always considered them different, separate, events.
My wife and I recently traveled to Arizona to visit family. An opportunity to escape a wet Oregon winter is one of the few things worth getting up early for in my way of thinking. In any case we had a great view of the sun rising on Mt Hood as we made the drive to the airport. It was difficult to not pull off the road to get out my camera out of the trunk and take some photos. A dozen hours later, now in Arizona, I wandered outside and observed the orange sky backlighting huge palm trees as the sun dropped over the horizon. Both observations were very different, yet very much the same; both the result of the rotation of the earth as another day passes by.
It was only days later that it was pointed out to me that they are in reality connected, both part of the same day. It’s not unlike our life. We burst onto the scene in the same way a sunrise does, announcing the promise of a new day. Many years later we realize that we are closer to the sunset than the sunrise.
I watched the sun a lot when I used to backpack through the mountains. It was the best indication of how much of the day was left. I never ventured into the woods without a plan for each day. As each day progressed I compared where I started to where I intended to end and decisions were made to either speed up, slow down and take a longer break or to continue at the same pace. But regardless I never lost sight of my intended destination. Some times events such as injury would force a change in plans along the journey, but there was always plan
I can’t say that has always been the case with my life. It’s hard to plan your destination if you have no map or trail. It’s like the stories you read of people wandering through the forest only to realize when it is too late that they are miles from anywhere and unprepared. Panic sets in and they desperately hope their phone will give them a lifeline or that someone will notice they are missing and send help.
Several years ago I read a blog by Michael Hyatt where he pointed out that most people spend more time planning a vacation then they do their life. I took his advice and created a life plan using the method that he used. Those closest to me realize it was a life changing turn of direction. I never really wrote about it and only shared the details with a few people because it can sound condemning and I don’t want to sound that way. But it is too good not to share. It changed my priorities and changed my relationships with my wife, kids and family in ways I could have never imagined.
Somehow along the way it was as if my plan fell into a mountain steam and was washed away. I found myself the last two years, once again, wandering. The reasons are a story for another day but I think I’m back on track once again and it feels really good. The journey is so much more enjoyable if you know where you are going. If you have ever had feeling you are just wandering through life I highly recommend the new book by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkay. It’s called Living Forward, A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want. It’s an easy read but will lead you through your life planning process in a foolproof way.
I know, you might think it is too late for all this. I used to wonder the same thing. Here is what I found to be true. It’s never really too late!
“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide your’re not going to stay where you are.” ~ JP Morgan
Where will you watch your final sunset from?