I can still vividly remember Christmas as a young boy. Laying in bed in the room I shared with my younger brother trying to sleep as visions of gifts stacked to the ceiling raced through our heads. The waiting, almost painful, as I imagined the look of the living room on Christmas morning a wrapping paper yard sale. I don’t believe we slept much, just dozed off now and again as we whispered with nervous anticipation. Would we get the new skateboard, the Atari System (yes I’m that old), a mountain bike or a fancy new wetsuit? It was all about the gifts and nothing else...
The morning was a blur...I don’t know if the wrapping paper ever hit the floor as we raced from gift to gift. Oh the joy of Christmas I thought. My poor parents, all that time researching, pricing and locating the right gifts for my brother and I only to have us tear through the pile like a pack of famished Heinas. I have so much more appreciation for their efforts now that I have kids of my own. “Slow down” I tell them as they race through their own gifts on Christmas Day. “Enjoy the moment”...my words fall on deaf ears as my wife and I roll our eyes and consider the time and effort required to create this jolly occasion.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s worth every minute spent and every gray hair just to see the flash of wonder and joy on their faces when the “dream gift” appears from it’s magical box. I don’t think I’m alone when I say there is nothing quite like the joy of giving. It’s that feeling of warmth and pure satisfaction that providing just one moment of happiness to someone else can offer. There is truly nothing more rewarding in this world than that simple act of of giving.
As I’ve gotten older however my perspective has changed and while I certainly make a significant donation each year to the holiday shopping season, I have also come to realize that the greatest gifts in life are not necessarily the ones we open. These are also the gifts that we tend to overlook, to discount or take for granted. Ironically, these same gifts are the very ones that make everything in life possible. They allow us to live peacefully, pursue our dreams and create our own destiny. For me, these are the “true” gifts in life.
With that in mind I give you this seasons list of priceless gifts...
The Gift of Freedom
A cherished present from our forefathers. The backbone of this nation. Defended and protected at home and abroad by the sacrifices and blood of the men and women of our armed forces from the birth of our country to present day. Strictly defined it is “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” As Americans we know that the true meaning of this gift is much deeper than it’s literal interpretation. Our freedom is the foundation upon which this nation stands, a beacon for the oppressed and model for world.
The Gift of Security
The gift that allows every man, woman and child to live without fear or threat of malice. The invaluable and oft underappreciated gift of law enforcement delivered not just once a year but each and every day in towns large and small, at every border, in our skies and on our seas.. The gift bearers? Humble servants who don the badge to insure that that justice will be defended, served and upheld here at home. As citizens we survive, thrive and prosper under the very umbrella of security and protection that this gift offers.
The Gift of Safety
Sadly, many of us never think about the priceless nature of this gift until we need it. The ever present guardian angels on the frontlines of safety. Our firefighters, EMS professionals, lifeguards and first responders, always vigilant, always prepared, never more that a phone call away. Have you ever paused to imagine a world without them. Consider the blanket of safety this gift offers the next time you hear a siren wail in the distance as you lay soundly in your bed in the dead of night. Ask yourself... Where are they going? To whom do they race? Into what danger do they run?
The Gift of Service
The most precious gift of all. The one present that encompasses, underlies and defines each of the gifts above. What could possibly be more valuable than the unselfish gift of one’s person, one’s time and sadly one’s life for their fellow man. Those who serve don’t consider it a gift. To them it’s a duty, a calling and an honor which makes their gift of service even that much more valuable. Let us never forget the blessing that is the service of those who protect, defend, secure, comfort and heal the citizens of this great nation.
I hope this holiday season brings you joy, peace and the comfort of friends and family. May every gift you desire find it’s way under your tree on Christmas morning. I also hope that in the midst of all the merriment and cheer you will give pause, if only for a moment, to the gifts that you don’t open... The gifts and the gift givers who provide us comfort and joy not just on Christmas Day but every day. These priceless offerings and the men and women who bear them are the true blessings of the season.
The son of an avid outdoorsman and early waterman, Scott Seymour was born into an adventurous lifestyle. Having spent most of his formative years along the remote beaches of Baja California and the dusty backroads of nearly every mountain range on the western edge of North America he understands what its like to live off the beaten path and on the road less travelled. Those early years were spent diving, surfing, fishing, mountaineering, exploring, prospecting and getting lost and found literally and figuratively on a regular basis. While an atypical childhood it may have been, it forged an adventurous spirit and a thirst for life that has continued to guide him through adulthood.
As a collegiate volleyball player at UCLA, Scott developed a passion for teamwork and helping others meet their maximum potential. He went on to build a successful career leading and managing highly efficient sales teams for various national and global organizations. In 2008, feeling that familiar yearning for adventure he made a career 180 and for the past several years has worked as a bail and recovery agent in Southern California. Scott is also a registered EMT and first responder and will be starting the fire academy in January of this year with the goal of becoming a paramedic.
A self proclaimed “gear junkie” Scott can still be found most days researching and testing new equipment and strategies while stand up paddling, surfing or exploring the coastlines of Southern California or Mexico.
He resides in San Clemente with his wife and two junior watermen.