I have always liked the idea as viewing your time similar to currency. You get to decide how you spend it and what types if investments you make. Sadly, just like with our money, many of us make bad or misinformed decisions. Time is finite. There will be a time when it grows short and then disappears. Our children will only live with us a relatively brief time before they grow up and move away to begin their own lives. People we care about will run out of time and all that will remain will be the memories we made with them while they were still here. Our career will follow a natural arc and eventually our lives will be less about what we do for a living (despite our past accomplishments) and we will need to redefine ourselves. Knowing this, what can and should we do differently. I believe it all starts with priorities.
I’ve always been a bit annoyed with people who are grouchy in the morning on a regular basis. Sure, everyone has a tough morning every once in awhile, but to wake up every day in a bad mood is hard to comprehend. What could have happened between the time you first put your head on your pillow and when you woke up that is so bad you need to make everyone else around you unhappy? If you are too tired, then go to bed earlier. If you are having problems sleeping, then do something about it. Part of growing up is learning how to act like an adult.
Another year has come full circle and I find myself celebrating my 46th birthday. Wow! Sometimes the passing of time is hard to believe. My dad once told me that “the days can be long but the years will grow shorter as you age.” As usual he is right. It seems like yesterday I was wide eyed kid playing with my friends and day dreaming about my future. While I never did become President or Secretary of State (there’s still time), soar through the universe as an astronaut, solve major crimes for Interpol, play either professional baseball or football, or lead troops as a great general, I’ve had a rich full life. Today is a day to count my many blessings:
When was the last time you had fun at work and truly enjoyed yourself? Are you able to laugh at the absurd or ridiculous or do you take it all too seriously? Can you let your guard down? Do you enjoy the company of your colleagues or prefer to keep them at a distance? Are people naturally drawn to you or do you feel isolated? When you show up in the morning do you feel optimistic and relatively happy or tired and downtrodden? Are you able to keep your work in a proper perspective? Can you take most things in stride or are you easily frustrated? Do you make an effort to enjoy what you are doing or just consider it a job? Can you lighten up the mood in a room or are you always ratcheting up the level of intensity?
What is the one thing that if it changed would make all the difference in your home or work life? What have you been avoiding because it is too hard to address or you’ve been distracted by other issues? Where are you most vulnerable or unhappy? If you narrow your focus on this one issue as best you can and actually deal with it, positive change will begin to happen. It just sometimes takes courage and the willingness to be truly honest, thoughtful and self-reflective.
Just because you are busy doesn’t mean you will be successful or happy. In fact, many people fill their time up with useless or non-essential activity. They run from meeting to meeting or event to event and wonder why the important stuff never gets done.
We all need to accept and embrace the happy moments as the present themselves otherwise life can feel like a treadmill if you are not careful.