“I came up with a saying, which is, “I collect bad wines.” Because if the wine is ready and the person is there, I’m opening it. I no longer want to postpone anything in life. And that urgency, that purpose, has really changed my life.” – Ric Elias
Life changes in an instant—we all know this to be true. We see flashes of this reality each day across our computer screens, as we bow our heads silently in reverence to the humbling impermanence of life.
But how often, do we really allow ourselves to sit with this knowledge—to reflect on just how fully we’ve lived each one of our moments? Perhaps, in some ways, we are too frightened to glance into life’s mirror—in fear, that we might just see fully what it is that we’ve been missing?
Ric Elias was in seat 1D on Flight 1549, that famous plane that crash-landed into New York’s Hudson River in January of 2009. For most, it was just another day…another flight…another frantic dash through an airport security gate—but for this man, it soon became his greatest lesson on life and of living.
“We have this bucket list, we have these things we want to do in life, and I thought about all the people I wanted to reach out to that I didn’t, all the fences I wanted to mend, all the experiences I wanted to have and I never did…And after, as I reflected on that, I decided to eliminate negative energy from my life…I no longer try to be right; I choose to be happy.”
I regretted the time I wasted on things that did not matter with people that [do] matter.
Indeed, we all find ourselves trapped in these moments–moments where our ego becomes more important than the energy shared. I experienced one of these moments just the other day, one that left me with the most profound feeling of emptiness and sadness. In the moments following I remember thinking, “Did it ever really matter much at all?” I believe this would be my greatest fear at life’s end, that I would look back to those moments wasted holding my own silly sentiments over compassion and love.
For Ric, those last few moments counting down before the impact were the ones the greatest insight and clarity. And, as he sat some weeks later watching his first grade daughter’s recital, he realized that the only thing that really mattered to him was being a dad.
“I was given the gift of a miracle, of not dying that day. I was given another gift, which was to be able to see into the future and come back and live differently.”
Take a few moments, you’ll not regret it, to watch this most amazing video—as a father recounts the true meaning of Father’s Day. And, when you’ve finished ask yourself, “Have I really been living the life I have most wanted to live?”
Though, hopefully, it doesn’t take a plane crash to help you figure out that answer.
Video: Ric Elias: 3 things I learned While My Plane Crashed – TED Talk
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