Taking Care of Rocks

Just got done giving our little Homer a brain transplant. Since we'll be rolling around Ireland in a few weeks, I wanted to make sure the yelling and screaming between Joyce and I are kept to a minimum. And with the help of this guy, the rides should be much more enjoyable. I replaced his little memories of the USA with Western Europe, fired him back up and voila! I gave him a dry run from Dublin to Kilkenny and Homer led the way. Though I still feel we'll manage to get ourselves lost somewhere along the way.

I'm really looking forward to this trip and can't wait to get away. Joyce is just getting over her time in Spain, but I've been stuck here working and studying. Last weekend I had a horrible day in class. Sat around listening to a bunch of bs from one of the worst professors I've ever had. It was then and there that I decided to blow off the final class scheduled for Memorial Day weekend and take a breather. I called up the wife and said, "We need to plan another trip!"

When I got home that night, I popped open a bottle of Guinness to dull the pain in my brain and we decided among several places to go. Ireland won. But it all got me thinking as to why I was so upset with things. Work has been going nowhere fast these past few weeks with Sun having more layoffs. They decided to keep me around despite my request to be free and then all the buyout talks with IBM and Oracle starting to buzz around. Talk about a motivation killer. I've never seen such a downbeat sales force. And then to spend a nice sunny Saturday cooped up inside listening to some lady talk about stuff she had absolutely no expertise on, I just wanted to explode.

But I found comfort in this little story and maybe some of you will too...

Philosophy of Life

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2" in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. This time the students were sure and they responded with a unanimous "YES!"

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and proceeded to pour their entire contents into the jar -- effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, your children - things that, if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else. The small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued "there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.

"Take care of the rocks first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.

The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers."


  1. Thanks for getting Homer ready! We will need him for sure. Ireland is going to be an interesting trip. We are usually car-less on our vacations (except for Hawaii, but that was only for a few days), so basically worry-free. Ireland will be different because we will need to drive in a foreign territory, look for signs, and find our ways. I am sure we will be okay, just need to be patient. I can't wait for the trip too! It's coming up fast.

    That's a great little story. At first I was like good god, this is so long. But I read everything and yes, taking care of rocks is the most important.

  2. Great story. Really puts things in perspective. Good luck at work and with your classes. In the end, everything always works out, and a trip to Ireland sounds like just the thing to get you out of this funk. Though you might get some sand in your clothes along the way. :)

  3. that's such a wonderful story! thank you for sharing :)

  4. Sounds fun getting ready for Ireland! And thanks for the story, I really enjoyed it.

  5. haha what a great story!


Post a Comment