I’m here with my wife, Shay, enjoying a few spectacular days at the Banff Springs Hotel. The initial reason for the trip is a speech I will deliver here tomorrow. That is the same date, however, as our 21st wedding anniversary. I have learned over the years to seize these moments of serendipity when they present themselves. So here we are, together, in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Yesterday we drove 45 minutes to spectacular Lake Louise and hiked the 6.5km trail to the Tea House, a small and super quaint restaurant that operates in the wilderness without any electricity. There, as we enjoyed tea and apple crumbles, I got down on one knee, gave her a ring, and proposed marriage. Or, more accurately a “vow renewal ceremony,” which we will do tomorrow morning on the banks of the Vermillion Lakes. (“Proposal” photo taken by our waiter, Freddie. Vermillion Lakes below.)
Life is full of commitments. Some we make to other people: Marriage, parenting, elder care, employment, etc. Others we make to ourselves. We say to ourselves that THIS year will be different than the last, or that we will finally start something, stop something, or just do something different. We make a vow.
A vow is not only a promise, but also an inspired moment. When we make a vow, it is because we glimpse something of our future and temporarily suspend the doubts and fears that might prevent us from realizing the imagined possibility.
Vows me make to ourselves are often unspoken. They are personal, and they come in two forms. Two types of V.O.W.s:
Vision Of What (is to come)
Version Of Who (we will be)
These future “visions” or “versions” can be compelling, but they are not enough, typically to sustain us to complete the journey. Why? Because it’s tough to change your future – to redirect the stream of events that will carry you to an intended destination. Life is full of distractions, interruptions, and demands that have nothing do to with your future view.
A vow, whether made to another or to yourself is not a one time undertaking. It is a daily renewal of commitment. It is not expressed in words, but in action. Just like the hike to the Tea House, it is expressed by putting one foot in front of the other, making slow but stead progress uphill, despite the rain, rocks, and horse poop that lies in our path.
Today, renew your vows to yourself to become the best version of who you will be. Renew and clarify your vision of what is to come. Then take the next step of a journey that, like marriage, is never fully realized. Only renewed.