Make Like a Tree and Grow
Here's a fun story for you.
The Wife and I were sitting outside on our porch, enjoying the finally-not-too-hot evening breeze, when I noticed something sad. Leaves on the top branches of the beautiful white oak next to us were wilting.
Somehow my brain made a chain from wilting leaves to how long it takes trees to grow (but how quickly they can die), and how interesting it is that trees are forever growing up and out.
Season after season, ring after ring, trees keep growing. "That's how we should be," The Wife said.
"We should always be building and learning and growing, just like the tree." She's a woman after my own heart (thank God).
Maybe I'm more of a treehugger than I thought, but I love this representation.
One of Albert Einstein's many famous quotes is, "Once you stop learning, you start dying." It's not just philosophical, it also carries some scientific merit (as you might expect from that man).
For a couple of years now, I've enjoyed paraphrasing it, "When you stop growing, you start dying." This is true on any scale.
When you stop working out, you don't get to keep your stamina and muscle mass (unfortunately). Both immediately begin to fade.
If you stop studying and pushing your brain, you actually do begin to lose intelligence. That's why starting school again in the fall after a summer off was always so difficult for you (and me).
Take the human body in general. You grow for 25 years (if you're lucky), then your body more or less maintains itself and replenishes what it can. Then you start to deteriorate.
Quite literally, if you're not growing, you're dying. But there's a bit more of an uplifting message here.
Each person is capable of doing good, incredible, amazing things for themselves and for others. But to do that, you have to keep growing. Everyone can continually grow, but it typically takes an intentional process to make that happen.
That's what The Wife was trying to get across. That we should make the choice to keep growing, becoming continually stronger and more stable - just like that tree.