Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Time Flies When You Are Having Fun!

Time flies when you’re having fun!

I heard a flight attendant say this corny old line as I was getting ready to fly back to Portland this last week. Laura and I had spent four days with friends in Napa wine tasting and eating at some great restaurants but it was time to go home. Even though we had a blast and I couldn’t have asked for a better group to be with our time seemed to go quickly. Time just flew.

As I was lying awake this morning through my “oh too often early mornings of no sleep,” I was thinking about where I was six months ago. On this day half a year ago I was in Washington D.C. at the 2009 KFC Franchisee National Convention. I was traveling alone due to a couple of factors but mostly because we, as a family, are very busy and no one else could go with me.

Looking back this morning I was trying to remember what was going on in the outside world at this time. The Dow Jones tumbled 251 points this day in February as officials announced more bank troubles. President Obama made the bold promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. The little known quirky Slum Dog Millionaire had just won the Oscar for best picture and Tiger Woods had just announced his return to golf after being out of the game since June. While somewhat interesting in their own rights, none of these events were very memorable to me.

In the KFC world, the franchisees were struggling to get our sales back in the positive column and this was the main topic at our convention. We were excited to launch a brand new product but there was this feeling of worry, even slight despair as we talked quietly about some of our fellow franchisees that were in serious financial trouble. While these topics were closer to me than the national news, these events still faded gently over time in my memory.

I was wondering about why these events don’t register a more notable mental log in our own internal diaries and I realized it’s because these events happened around us and NOT to us. What hits our own recordable radar screens are the things that personally affect us. The type of events we know will change us and mark this time period as unforgettable. Things like personal loss.

You know the type of loss I am talking about. It might be the death of someone close to you. It might be the loss of job or fortune due to this economy. Or it might be the loss of someone whom you dearly love, not by death but from a relationship that is gone. Sometimes I believe this loss cuts the deepest and is one of the hardest to recover from. With death there is the finality of the event and depending on your faith, the comfort of a loved one living a in a “better place”. With loss of fortune there is always another day. But those that suffer from lost love live with the reminder every day of what was and healing takes place on a much different level, if at all.

But all of these types of losses mark our own mental time stamps. These events burn the time and date into your brain and for that reason, you know where and when you were. In essence, you never forget. The theory of time flying erodes into a molasses like pace and your loss seems to defy the laws of time as we know it. And it’s not fun.

I have not been immune to this unique year though I know I have been luckier than others. I mourn like others and I grieve for friends. I, too, have my reasons for a time stamp that is permanent and I will never forget. But I know things will be better tomorrow because I will make it so. Time may still seem slow but being sad only makes it worse. By refusing to allow tragedy and loss to maintain control, you rise above and wipe the fog from the windows. This allows you to see out.

And time does move on. It is often said that we can be defined on how we deal with loss and how we pick ourselves up afterwards. One of my favorite sayings goes something like this…”It’s not how many times you fall during the race that matters but how quickly you pick yourself up when you fall”. I am picking myself up. What about you?

And I can’t wait for time to fly again.

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