Time. It’s one of the greatest equalisers. We all get the same 24 hours per day, and what we choose to do with it is largely up to us. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, how rich or poor you are, an hour is 60 minutes and it never changes.
There has been a shift over the last few years in how people relate to their use of time and how they communicate about it.
For instance, there was a time when people wore their busy-ness like a badge of honour. Too busy to socialise or get home to spend time with the family. Too busy to take a holiday. Too important to not be checking emails and taking phone calls when sitting in a café. Checking the phone last thing at night, and first thing in the morning.
But the mindfulness, health and wellness movement has made us start to rethink this attitude. And it is just that – an attitude.
Most communications will wait. If someone needs you urgently, they will find a way to get your attention.
Arianna Huffington has made it her mission to get people to stop sleeping with electronic devices in the bedroom. And she knows first-hand the consequences of trying to beat time. Working 18 hour days to start the Huffington Post website, she passed out from exhaustion, breaking her cheekbone and cutting above her eye on her desk on the way to the floor, waking up alone in a pool of blood.
This was a wake-up call for Arianna, and she has used her influence and experience to share with the world the importance of balance, wellness and taking time for yourself.
In December Kirk Douglas (of ‘I am Sparticus!’ fame) turned 103 years old. This is a remarkable life-span, and it got me thinking over my Christmas break. If I live to be his age (and why shouldn’t I?) then I still have 41 years left. That’s the same length of time since my 21st birthday, and I was really only growing up and coming of age until that time. It seems like so long ago.
So I began to reflect on some of the things I have achieved and learned in the past 41 years. Some stand-outs to date:
- Traveling half way around the world to begin life in another country
- Meeting the man I have spent the last 40 years with
- Saving enough money to buy our first house
- Returning to Australia with a very English husband and two babies
- Bringing up our two girls to be strong and successful women
- Having a number of different and interesting jobs
- Learning to use computers, the internet, social media
- Studying for a degree for 6 years while working full-time and bringing up children
- Being there for my mum since my father died
- Making and losing friends and still knowing people that I met when I was five
- Buying and selling properties, moving many times, upsizing and now downsizing
- Traveling to and holidaying in many interesting locations (but I’m nowhere near done yet).
So whilst I know that many people my age think that they are in their twilight years, the reflection process above has me knowing that I potentially have so much time still stretching ahead of me. I want to use this time to continue to learn, make friends, have fun, travel, work, contribute and share my happiness.
And if I don’t have that much time, and none of us know how much we have, then I will already be living each day to the fullest. No complaints about being too busy. No neglecting happiness to focus on achieving. No ignoring quiet time or important interactions to check emails. No putting rest or relaxation on hold to do what seems urgent but not important.
I urge you to do a stocktake of some of your great achievements to date and things you still want to achieve. Make the most of every day. Find happiness in the little things. Relish the time stretching ahead, but never take it for granted.
And remember, no one ever said on their death-bed ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office’.