YOUR TIME IS NOT DISPENSABLE
We are all getting older.
You know it, I know it.
Every second, every minute, every hour.
Each time we get up in the morning with another day under our belt so too does the next one start. It’s been happening to us our whole lives. We’ve got pretty used to how this whole time thing works and we think we’ve got it sussed.
But do we really?
When we are young and at school time seems to take it slow – we are forever looking for the next milestone; lunchtime, end of the day, 16th birthday, 18th and finally, if we ever think we will make it – the end of school.
Then we leave school and it starts to speed up a bit. This is where our idea of time starts to get a little more clouded.
See before we had no choice but to be at school, we get by the best we can and looking forward to the next milestone may be the only way we talk ourselves through it.
But eventually we leave school. We turn 18 and suddenly we get to choose how we spend our time. The problem with time at this point is that it doesn’t go slow anymore. In fact it goes much faster.
We wake up each morning, another day under the belt and at the beginning of a new one.
That’s the same, so no worries.
I have an idea that maybe not.
Instead, maybe subconsciously we like to put that clock on hold.
We pause it to think about what we want to do next. Then restart it when we are ready to go.
We pause it while we are at work and start it again at the end of the day, or pause it until its time to go on holiday and play once we are about to take off.
We put it on hold until we’ve hit a certain figure in the bank, until we’ve ticked off a sufficient 2 year period working in the same company, or until we pluck up the courage to quit, or retire, or whatever our next milestone will be.
It sounds like an over exaggeration, a really dramatic sad story about time. But at least for parts of our lives – less and more for different people – it’s all of us.
For me, I had a slap in the face after leaving University. I was already not 100% convinced on going but decided if I was going for it I’d bump up my 3 year degree to 4 years for a double.
And don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of good times in those 4 years and I did learn a lot.
But for some reason as soon as I stepped off the plane in Thailand on what was the first stop of many, that slap hit me hard.
All of a sudden time became a scarcity.
All of a sudden I had so many things to do and so many places to see and already at only 22 was questioning whether I had enough time.
We take time way too much for granted when we put it on hold and the worst way to figure that out is by seeing it for ourselves.
There is an article written by an Australian Palliative Nurse, Bronnie Ware called “Top 5 Regrets of the Dying”. Bronnie counselled those in their final days and listened to what they had to say.
From reading the article there is an overwhelming sense that these people had put much much more value on time in their final moments than they ever had before saying things like they wished they hadn’t spent so much of their lives on the “treadmill of a work existence” or that time, like health “brings a freedom very few realize until they no longer have it”.
We seem to forget that actually we can’t put time on hold and each period of our lives we do, we still get older. And when we get older maybe we become less able to do those things we had put off for so long and where does that leave us?
Spending a year working with a 4 week holiday only values time over money if you genuinely enjoy what it is that you do.
We really should think about how we spend the bulk of our time and get better at putting more value to it.
I was quitting my job one day and the old employer started making references to a previous employee who, like me, left the job relatively early on in the piece. He started telling stories about how this other guy had no integrity for not sticking it out – insinuating, I can only imagine that I too had no integrity for quitting so soon. I could all but smile having the confidence to know my integrity lay very much outside of spending my time in a job to appease other people.
The point is – time is very far from dispensable.
You can’t put it on hold, you can’t do it again, you can’t go back.
Don’t be slapped in the face one day by the Time Gods telling you you’ve made a monumental error – because there is no going back.
Don’t be the 70 year old wearing short, hot pink, tight leather skirts to make up for lost time.
Or do stupid shit when you are old in an attempt to relive the youth you never had.
Do it now.
Do the stupid shit now, do the stuff you can’t get away with when you have children or grandchildren to worry about.
Or still do it if you can.
Just stop bloody worrying so much about the future and live a little.
Put the wheels in motion for those things you’ve been putting off.
Value your time enough to have no regrets when it comes to the end.
And if you don’t feel like taking life lessons from a 22 year old me, or even a 25 year old me for that matter – take it from your grandparents or the patients that Bronnie cared for because they have lived long enough to know what’s up and you can’t argue with that.
Nothing like a cheesy quote to end a “motivational” blog post care of Eleanor Roosevelt.