Writer  /  Kate Rhoten

It’s that time of year. It comes at the same time each year, the transition from fall to winter and the holiday season. Thanksgiving has come and gone as well as Black Friday.

Now, we are between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We are waiting for the next big thing. I bring this up because recently I went to New Orleans for a conference. I met a Jeff Goins, an author who has written many books. He had his newest book, “The In-Between” available for purchase.

I took my signed copy with me on the plane and read it on the way back home. It’s a quick read. Nevertheless, it had me thinking about the way we live and how we are always looking for the next “thing.” It doesn’t matter if that thing is the next holiday, the next job promotion or vacation.

What about after a big event or experience? Are we enjoying the time in-between these? It’s easy to be caught up in the busyness of our lives, but sometimes we need to embrace the moments between the wedding and the first-born child. What about the longing between vacations or the next cool gadget?

Money affords us the ability to create events. We use it to buy presents. However, it doesn’t help us be present somewhere, other than facilitating the process of getting us to the destination. We can’t live in the moment if we are not open to it.

I can tell you it’s hard to just be. It’s hard to wait for something to happen. It’s difficult to see the importance of the time in-between the milestones of life. I experienced an “in-between” moment in October. My 94-year-old grandfather was in the Intensive Care Unit. Money afforded the opportunity for me to go and be with him. That is where the ability of money to influence the moment ended.

My grandfather was a catalyst in my life. He helped guide me to adulthood and I don’t think I would be where I am now if it wasn’t for my grandfather. There were things he did for me that required money, but there were other things. My grandfather could outdo any of us grandchildren at the amusement park. He took in all those moments with us and gave us the best of him. He was present.

Now it was my turn to be present for my grandfather. It was up to me to just be. As hard as it was, I did it. I held my grandfather’s hand. We shared stories of my summer trips to Florida with my cousin and sister. We recollected my path to college and subsequently starting out on my own. I thanked him. In turn, he let me know he was proud of me.

That quiet time with my grandfather was necessary. We were connected, like no other time. Money got me there, but it didn’t pay for my attention. As I head into the holiday season, I don’t think there is anything I want for Christmas. I just want the ability to be with my family and celebrate life, to be present. For me, it’s not about a gift under the tree; it’s about the gift within thee.

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