Thursday, April 12, 2012

Make It Count

By now you are all somewhat familiar with my friend Andy, because he has prompted me to write numerous posts--primarily about Haiti and vocation.  He's now made me want to think and write about this video that he tweeted.  I probably ought to make a label for posts that says "Andy", but that also might be kind of weird.

The premise:  an assignment from Nike to make a film about making life count.  So what does the filmaker do? He heads off with a friend on an around-the-world trip for as long as all the money Nike gave him would last.  It took 10 days.

Ten days of an extraordinary trip that these guys will be able to talk about for the rest of their lives, ten days of experiences that many people will never have, ten days of an all-expenses paid vacation.  Who wouldn't want to do that?  Who wouldn't want to be able to do any of the things they do in the video?

Inspirational quotes are interspersed throughout the video.  Some of them include:
  • Life is either daring adventure or nothing at all.  --Helen Keller
  • You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.  --Mae West
  • Above all, try something.  --Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Do one thing every day that scares you.  --Eleanor Roosevelt
  • In the end, it's not the years in your life that count; it's the life in your years.  --Abraham Lincoln
  • Action expresses priorities.  --Ghandi
As I watched the video, I couldn't decide whether or not I liked it.  It was making me feel as if I was being pulled in different directions and I didn't understand what was bothering me about it.  I did think it was inspirational; I did agree with the message of making life count.  So what was wrong?  Why was it bothering me?

Then it hit me.

It was about two young, presumably unmarried and childless, males.  I do not fit into the demographic of the filmmakers or of their obvious target audience:  young, unattached males who can theoretically go off on adventures on a moment's notice.  I am a married woman in my 30s with two young children.  I am not going to be able to have those same adventures that they had; they were not exactly conducive to bringing along a preschooler and a toddler.  Well, maybe the experience of riding the elephant was; my kids would love that.

Making it count for me will look very different.  Making it count for me consists of laughing at my kids having a blast driving their Jeep around the back yard or stopping what I am doing to dance along to my four year old's "guitar" playing or helping raise funds for people to be able to drink clean water or having a great conversation with a friend or enjoying my morning coffee or making the time to write on this blog.

So I began to wonder:  what would it look like to make it count at other stages of or situations in life?  How does the single mom working two jobs make it count?  Or the recently widowed?  Or the person dying of cancer?  Or the college student who is about to graduate?

What are all the ways to make life count, no matter how small they are?  It is far more likely that most of us will have to look for these small and creative ways to make life count, because I don't think Nike is really going to pay for most of us to take the trips we've always dreamed of (though if the offered, I can't say I'd turn it down).  Making it count is not about only the single, big, exciting, short-term events in life, but about living each day to its fullest, wherever you are:  in gratitude, in awe, in love.

We do need to remind ourselves about this constantly though, because it is far too easy to become complacent, irritable, and unappreciative of life and not live life to the fullest, although, the fullest will be different for each one of us.

How do you make it count?


shawn said...

What makes it count for me is being there for my husband and family. One day I'd love to travel but just to go in and out of airports for 10 days does not sound fun to me.

Kelly said...

I think I might like it--I love to fly. I haven't visited many other places, to be honest. The only other country I've been to is Canada! If I think hard about it though, some of the things that I consider fairly ordinary (like moving back and forth across the country) are probably considered adventuresome to other people. So it's all perspective.

Eleni Poulakou said...

Wow! giving this new look to your blog is something that counts (lol)

I'd love to travel again, I miss it so much! But these are difficult times, and this will have to wait.

Raising my kid and succeeding in my business and in raising my income too are some goals for the near future.

Kelly said...

Eh, the new look isn't all that special. I just keep messing around with the various templates blogger has. In May a graphic designer friend of mine is going to design something for me that will be more permanent. said...

Making it count for me means doing things that are meaningful and engaging deeply with life and my fellow travelers. I appreciate your message and agree that making it count can mean something different for each individual.

Tor Constantino said...

Great post Kelly and I LOVED that Nike video.

Similar to you, I'm a married father of two with our third child on the way. My blogging, guest posts and article submissions to online pubs is how I "Make it Count."

BTW, I'm currently training for my sixth full marathon at the end of May - forgot about that....

Kelly said...

@Tor: I bet most males will love that video more than females ;)

Your 6th marathon, huh? Running is one of the things I dislike the most, but I do admire those of you who have the stamina for it!

jbledsoejr said...

Great post! And very timely for me. Today I was reading Colossians 3:23, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord..." This is what makes it count for me.

Kelly said...

@jbledsoejr: awesome. It shows that even though the "making it count" things in this video are BIG things, that all of the things we do combined to make it count are even bigger than those individual things. said...

I believe that making it count means making the world better- period. That means making sure my kids know the value of their efforts- and the value of making the world better, too. Not walking by a homeless person on a bench and saying how sad- but buying a cup of coffee or a bagel and offering it. Sharing one's knowledge and experience when requested- as a mentor, as a friend, or as a consultant. (Notice, not all aid has to be offered for no fee.)
I could go on- but you get the drift.

Kelly said...

Making the world better--yes!

I think one big difference between that idea and the idea in the video is that the video is about self-centered ways of "making it count" whereas making the world better is about looking outside and around and not focusing on oneself.