Imagine a world where every child born is given a basket containing a lifetime supply of money, the total of all he or she will ever have to spend. The currency is dispensed daily so there is no way to count it or calculate how much is left in the basket. Nothing is free and there is no way to refill the basket or to get more money. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
If you lived in such a world you would surely guard your basket carefully. It is highly doubtful you would just leave it lying about where anyone could grab whatever amount they wanted or waste it on frivolous purchases. You’d be much wiser than that.
Thankfully we don’t live in a world where money is our most precious commodity.
We live in a world where our baskets contain our lifetime supply of minutes—and the clock is ticking.
Often my clients say things such as, “I plan to do that as soon as I have time” or “I’d like to ________ (fill in the blank) but I can’t find the time.” Interestingly, they find time to surf the web, play video games or watch their favorite TV shows. They usually bristle a bit when I point this out but hey, if the shoe fits…
Others report frustration with people who are time-stealers. “I’d accomplish more if it weren’t for the constant interruptions” and “I just find it hard to say ‘no’.” How does that shoe fit?
If you’re following this blog, the reality is that your basket is considerably lighter than it was when you were younger and you are keenly aware of it. We can’t afford to waste any of our precious remaining time and we don’t plan for “someday.” Our someday is now.
When I married my husband, I had his wedding ring engraved with the letters TBIYTB from this verse in the Robert Browning poem, Rabbi Ben Ezra:
“Grow old along with me
The best is yet to be”
On our 30th anniversary I realized that sentiment needed to be revised, so I had the medallion in the photo made for him to remind us the best is now.
Baby boomers overall have more time, more energy and more resources than any generation that has come before us. We have been responsible for massive changes in our society and we are not inclined to “go gentle into that good night” (Dylan Thomas) so now is our time to finish well. Rather than focusing on past regrets or future anxieties, stay focused on right now. How? Glad you asked!
- Make a difference. Volunteer. Help a person, a living creature, an environment in need. Opportunities are everywhere.
- Try something new. What’s on your bucket list you’ve been putting off until someday?
- Make amends if you need to. You’ll feel better and hopefully, so will the recipient of your efforts.
- Forgive the past. Particularly urgent if the person you need to forgive is yourself.
- Leave a legacy to those who will come after you. Tell your story. And no, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have kids or if you have kids you think are not interested. A living piece of history is invaluable and every person’s story matters.
- Reinvent yourself. Take a class, get a job, find a hobby. It’s only too late if you don’t start now.
- Use your imagination and expand on this list! Our generation has the luxury of “bonus minutes” and I encourage you not to waste a single one.
If not now, when? -Hillel the Elder
Food for thought:
How are you spending your time?
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