Perhaps you’ve watched John Krasinski’s Some Good News. The episode that grabbed me included the cast of Hamilton performing for a young girl whose dream to see the Broadway show was delayed due to COVID-19 precautions. But there was a more recent episode that stuck with me. Particularly, it was a simple statement.
Jon Stewart, as he answered a recent graduate’s question of “Now what?,” said, “Stop completing things, and start living them.”
In school, we get accustomed to the completion of assignments and projects. The skill of receiving and understanding what’s expected, setting goals, getting organized, then working through the components to the best of our abilities is a critical one. Even those who don’t enjoy or excel in school need to learn the same skills. But if we let the structure become our focus at the expense of the process, we miss the point.
Learning is the process; the structure of school helps facilitates the process. (Yes, the structure needs to be tweaked for many of us, and that’s okay. I’m not referring to a specific structure of traditional education but the structure that helps each person learn.)
When we work, there is a process and a structure. When we focus on the structure and lose sight of the process, we get tired, frustrated, disenchanted, and bitter or burned out. We can draw similar parallels within our homes, families, friends, and a myriad of relationships and experiences.
When we focus on completing things, we sometimes lose sight of living them.
That’s not to say we should stop completing things. We don’t have to choose one or the other. The two twine together. This isn’t a philosophical dilemma of “which came first and is therefore more important.” It is a simple reminder:
Life fully. Live well.