According to this “life weeks” chart, I have a little over ¼ of my allotment of weeks left in this lifetime. If you do the reverse math, you will work out that I will be 60 next year. As much as I would like to deny it, I’ve got limited time left on this Earth.
So do you.
One of my teachers once said to me “Don’t waste my time,” in response to my stubbornness to do one of my assignments. Seen through my eyes, I thought, “What the hell. I’m paying you good money!” Seen through the teacher’s eyes, it was simple. He would not work with anyone who was not willing to show up. Yes, he was getting paid. But his work was helping me reclaim my life, and if I wasn’t willing to show up, why should he?
This awareness was refined even more when I heard a venture capitalist say “Losing money doesn’t bother me. Losing money is part of my job. What bothers me is for someone to waste my time.” Now that’s a different way to think about money. It’s so easy to think of everything of value as tied to money.
Bringing that awareness to the forefront has all kinds of consequences. My first thought is “Surely that timeline is wrong. I feel young and vital and healthy. Maybe if I eat better, exercise more and be really, really careful, I can cheat death.” The truth is that 4000 weeks is not guaranteed – not even close. There are a lot of ways to exit this life.
So, yes, I can bury myself in a big ole Texas-sized pile of denial. But is that useful?
It seems more useful to appreciate what I have and count every moment as precious. This awareness sharpens my focus.
Seen through the eyes of reality, time becomes much more valuable than money.
Do I really want to let myself get sucked into giant time wasters? What about saying yes to things I really don’t want to do? How much power do I want to give other people over my calendar? What happens to my everyday priorities when I am aware of the sand running through the hourglass?
Practically speaking, it’s made me change several things. First, I’ve quit giving so much attention to the news. Instead of turning on the TV first thing in the morning, I start with setting my mindset for the day. Absolutely no inputs from email, text, social media or the news until my framing for the day has been established. Every day, that involves going into deep meditation. Many days, it involves a creative burst to capture insights and problem solving pouring out of my rested brain.
Second, I’ve become much more likely to say no to things I either don’t want to do or can’t add real value to. Sorry if you are one of those people who has heard that message. Now you know why.
Third, it’s sharpened my focus on my power to choose my response to circumstances out of my control (which I’m learning more and more is almost everything.)
My response is the only place where I have real power.
Gratitude becomes necessary, as fundamental as breath. Love becomes the sweet nectar of life. Presence is the true gift.
Where in your life are you “wasting time?” In what ways do you make money the most valuable thing you have? Where do you give your power to outside circumstances, reacting from your habitual patterns instead of from your true core? What gifts are you here to share? How many weeks do you still have left to offer those gifts? What are you going to do about it?
I’m still working on it. Will be for the rest of my 2050 weeks. Or days.
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