My son-in-law James recently suggested to me to listen to an interview of Naval Ravikant by Tim Ferris, raving about his words of wisdom. Most surely if James thought it was enlightening, I would get something out of it.
Unbeknown to me, Ravikant is actually a very successful investor/entrepreneur in the tech venture capital world, a field completely foreign to me: on all account his success is inspiring and to be lauded.
But it was Naval’s humility and take on life that completely took my breath away... I already espoused many of his life values but one of his simplest sayings profoundly touched me:
“We have only two lives, and the second one starts when you realize you only have one.”
It was an epiphany, an awakening of some sort which coincidentally happened last Wednesday. I listened to the interview podcast while walking in the park, on my way to visit my father who had taken ill.
You see, my father passed minutes after I arrived and since then, these words have profoundly resonated with me.
My second life started then.
One is never prepared for a parent’s passing, because one never knows this sort of pain until it actually happens to you. Having lived a very long and fulfilling life, my father was ready…I thought I was too but it didn’t turn out that way. I thought I had asked him everything I wanted to know and he had told me everything he wanted to share, but no…I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and every time it hits me…he will never be physically around me anymore.
The condolences calls and emails I have received have truly warmed my heart. He touched many lives and the recurring theme was how cultured, elegant, kind and attentive he was.
When my friends found out that he left his beloved Paris, his life and his friends behind at the age of 60 to bring us to America, without knowing a word of English, they understood the level of sacrifice he made. He knew what was important - not money, not his own pleasures but a life dedicated to seeing his children, grandkids and great grandkids live the American Dream.
So this saying from Naval is playing in my head, every day, every minute. Life is not about a brand legacy, it is about savoring every minute, touching people with not only words, but also actions and deeds.
Gone is the anxiety that would grip me every morning, the frustration rooted behind my impatience, the drive to accomplish what I thought was most important, to build a brand.
Obviously, many of you enlightened friends may read this as preachy…“Where have you been Catherine?” but I am honest enough to share this with you…these recent sequence of events really woke me up.
So the moral of this story…
I am going to live my life, knowing that the way I will make people feel is my legacy.
In that spirit, I will run my business accordingly, around my lifestyle and my family, closing the store on Saturdays, the Jewish Sabbath, because family is the pillar of life. By listening to the rhythm of life and slowing down when I need to, without anxiety. By surrounding myself with people who genuinely appreciate me and allow me to be me. By saying yes to what happens to me, trying to be internally happy and at peace. But most importantly by giving more of myself to those in need… of love.
My words and my actions will be permeated with understanding, compassion and empathy and hopefully you will see a kinder and more generous Catherine.
I love you all. Happy Valentine’s Day to those who celebrate…life is indeed all about love.
With gratitude, as always.