When people are faced with the news of a sudden catastrophic and life threatening/ending illness or injury, we are all reminded of how short and precious life is.
We exhort others and ourselves to seize the day, live life to the fullest, and have no regrets. And for a while we may do that.
It might mean:
- Traveling more
- Eliminating the toxic people from your life (or reducing their impact)
- Getting a divorce
- Getting married
- Quitting a job
- Turning that idea into a job
- Seeing people you love/like more often
What we really mean when we do this is to focus on the brevity of life compared to thinking that we have time to do what matters. We lose sight of the ‘now’ as we live our lives. We grasp it on occasions when we pause to consider our mortality and how little time we have compared to how much time there really is. But most of the time we are living – not thinking about HOW we are living.
Reflection is critical.
In my work, I ask people to think about the advice they would give to their ‘younger selves. I suggest putting a ‘trigger’ somewhere they could see every now and then throughout the day and when they DO, ask – “Is this the best use of my time right now?” I propose that every so often, take inventory of how you are spending your time and wonder if in ten years, these things will matter. In this YouTube-Twitterverse world, I advocate thinking about how things would look if it was up on the internet and published for the world to see. Would they be proud or embarrassed?
Reflection is essential when you want to adjust your NOW so that the day-to-day is meaningful and purposeful to you.
Some people do this daily. Some with less frequency. And still others get a loud and very rude wake-up call to alert them to pay attention to how they are spending their time.
If it’s not what you want, make some different choices. If big choices are too scary, start with something small.
As far as I can tell – we get one life. Most adults have obligations, responsibilities, and a history. What might be different tomorrow if you made a decision about how you want to live it today?