Tim Russert gave the commencement address at my graduation from Lehigh University in 2003 and though I never watched Meet the Press, I was deeply saddened by his sudden death a few days ago. After learning of his passing, I proceeded to search the Internet for his name and was stunned by his list of professional accomplishments, which only magnified my sense of loss. Here was an accomplished man of a relatively young age who had just returned from a family vacation in Italy where they celebrated his son's graduation from Boston College. Things were good in Tim Russert's life and I'm sure he never thought that last Friday would be his last day. If he had, how would he have spent it? And what would he have thought of the mark he was leaving on the world?
The next day, I woke up and wondered...is today my last day? And if it is, am I happy with the things I've accomplished and the general direction of my life? The answer is yes and no. Yes because I've achieved 3 things that are deeply important to me: 1) find true love, 2) travel the world, and 3) live creatively (I could certainly improve on this one, but I do the best I can with the time I've got). On the other hand, I look at someone like Tim Russert, who has accomplished so much greatness that it makes my life seem so small and trivial. There is still so much accomplish! How does one accomplish so much greatness in life? How do we each leave our own special mark on the world? One answer that immediately springs to mind is...fill your life with the things you're passionate about and eliminate, if you can, the extraneous things that drain you of your energy and rob you of your passion. Of course, to do this we need to closely examine our lives and be willing to make some painful changes. For some people, it might mean ending a bad relationship and for others it might mean changing jobs. Whatever it is, it doesn't make sense to spend our remaining days here doing anything other than the things we feel passionate about. After all, even if today is isn't our last day, we're one day closer.