What is four to six months in our lives?
What does it really mean? What do we do with it?
Every single day in a time-frame like that matters. And yet, every single day, most of us assume we have a much bigger abundance of time available, when really we have no guarantees. Not a single day of certainty.
- We settle for ‘good enough’.
- We settle for worse than that.
- We waste time.
- We procrastinate.
- We put off making a difference, or making a success or ourselves, or doing what we’d love.
- We stay stuck in jobs we hate and relationships that aren’t working.
- We accept our health the way it is and hope for the best.
I’m not suggesting that we ought to chase some sort of unrealistic utopia only attractive to people who have been given a set time ‘limit’, but most of us wait in a blasé state for a ‘wake-up call’ that might be far more invasive and cruel than we’re anticipating. Or maybe we’ll live til we’re a hundred… who can know?
What to do about it
I don’t think we need to live every single day as though it’s the last day in our lives, even though we all know it could be. That’s unrealistic.
We’re allowed to have days where we do nothing, or not much, and perform below our best in our professional lives or our families. Let’s give ourselves a break. But, when we do step back and look at the bigger picture:
- Are we experiencing enough joy?
- Are we contributing enough?
- Do we feel significant in some way?
- Are we growing?
- Do we feel connection?
- Do we experience enough variety in our lives?
The blissful thing is that most of us do have enough time. We have enough time to rectify our situations if we need to. We have enough time to squeeze the marrow out of life… the way we imagined it as teens in the 80s or 90s, watching Dead Poets’ Society and thinking wow, I must be remarkable…
But, come on. Must we really be ‘remarkable’? Where’s the measure? What really matters?
Someone crucially close to me has a future eulogy that doesn’t hold any “STOP THE PRESS” moments. Nothing like that. Nothing sensationally wonderful or globally life-changing. But gosh, she is remarkable in my life. She matters to me. She has transformed my world, over and over again.
A few years ago, when I co-organised our twenty-year school reunion people emailed to say they were worried. Worried they hadn’t ‘done enough’.
Against whose measure? Enough for whom?
Last week, I took my four-year-old and my eighty-plus-year-old parents to the NASA Space Station at Tidbinbilla. NASA is about 80 days off reaching Pluto. When you REALLY step back, and gain perspective about life on earth, everything changes.
Brendan Burchard, who survived a serious car accident says: “At the end of our lives, will we all ask: Did I live? Did I laugh? Did I matter?”