This morning I participated in a walk to cure Juvenile Diabetes at our daughters’ school. I didn’t want to go. I had work to do. Two-hours standing outside encouraging 2nd and 3rd graders to keep walking around a big field wasn’t going to be very productive. I needed to finish some projects. I needed to make ends meet. Because that’s the most important thing.

I’m an idiot.

20 years ago, my life changed in a moment of clarity when I had a choice to throw everything I knew about the world up in the air and let go of it. To let go of control and put my faith in a power greater than myself.  Stop, before you think I’m going to lecture you on God, God isn’t what I’m talking about. Not directly, anyway. I’m talking about life and how it flows around you whether you’re here or not. Whether you try to control it or not. Whether or not you have plans, dreams and goals.

Life has a way of moving around you like a river moves past a bar of sediment. It just doesn’t really care whether you’re there. But we get so swept up in our immediate perspective of things that all we seem to care about are the things we’re most closely aligned to. The stuff right in front of us. It’s a terrible perspective. Very small. And yet in this world we create for ourselves, we think we’re Kings and Gods of our own destiny. What a fucking joke. Look, I know you probably don’t understand what I’m saying here – and that’s ok. You just haven’t had your moment of clarity yet. You will though, even though you may not recognize it because of your perspective. It’s ironic. For me to get a proper perspective on things, I had to be knocked to my knees. Literally. You don’t have to be that stupid. Or maybe you do. It’s different for all of us.

The important thing is to recognize that what you think is really important right this minute – probably isn’t. So go ahead and tweet your ass off about business and advancing your expertise and the expertise of others who will reciprocate and help grow your own credibility in your mind and in the minds of others who also live in these limited life perspectives. But none of that matters. Sure, you might make more money or win awards and accolades for your awesomeness. But then what? A great college for your kids? That new BMW? Ok, then what? It’s all a trap, you see? A rodent’s wheel that we run on thinking we’re doing something even though the scenery doesn’t change. The fact that we’re running at all means we’re doing something. Going somewhere. Climbing a socio-economic staircase. Except, it’s an illusion. A very limited perspective.

I’m not saying you’re a bad person or that you need to change your life. You’ve just fallen into the same trap as everyone else. I do it too. Almost daily. Especially when I surround myself with others who think the exact same way about what is important in life. I think the trick is to accept that you’re just not as important as you think you are. That the world will go on just fine without you. And then look for a way to fit in on a larger scale. To actually do something important with your time. Attending the Diabetes Walk today was a very good thing for my perspective. Funny how that works.

By the way, the kids did great today. And I’m a better person for being out there with them to recognize that in their limited perspectives of life, they did something really important. Because, well, they did.


Jim Mitchem


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Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.