Is Time Your Greatest Asset or Nemesis?
So many things in our lives can be viewed as a positive or a negative, depending on your perspective. Time is one of those things. If you have a deadline, time is often the enemy. However, the lack of time can also be a great motivator to meet a deadline! I’ve been thinking about time and deadlines a lot lately and have realized my views have certainly changed over the years.
The Rush of Being Young
Looking back to my youth, I remember always being in a rush for time to pass. As a teenager, I really wanted to be an adult, get done with high school, and move on to college where I would oversee my own time. The funny thing about that, my time became even less my own because of how classes were scheduled; I felt like I was always scrambling to get somewhere on time. The campus was huge, and it took forever to get from one side to another. Simmering in the back of my mind was always the anticipation of the next break between semesters so I wouldn’t have to be so busy.
After college, I had my first full-time job, and my time was never my own. There was a schedule written by someone else, a time clock to punch, and daily goals to meet. I loved my work but was always counting down the time until the day or week ended. For the first time in my life, I was also earning vacation hours and loved planning how to use them. I had a big calendar on the wall in my kitchen and would mark the days off to keep track of how long I had to wait before my holiday. After a trip, I always felt a letdown, and with nothing to anticipate, time would drag again. Looking back, it was just foolish to “want” to rush time or my life. Overall, I would say my life could be described as rushing to meet goals of some sort until I was about 30.
The “Missing” Years
Life seems to settle down for most of us in our 30s. I remember feeling like I was secure in my chosen career, my personal life was settled, my vacations were predictable, and I had a circle of friends I enjoyed. I spent a lot of time focused on work back then, and it was occasionally a source of friction with my spouse. He had more time off than I did and was able to get most holidays off, but my job ramped up around the holidays. Again, looking back, time was my nemesis and I never seemed to have enough to do everything I needed to do. So, I missed a lot of what was going on back then, and I know that my friends with children missed even more. The song “Cat’s in the Cradle” started to resonate with me in my mid-30s.
Life Goes On
Middle age seems to last longer these days with longer life expectancies. I read the other day that for my father’s age group, 70 was the average life expectancy, yet in his group, they are already into their early 80s. I’m betting that means my age group can expect to live until well into our 80s or even 90s! So, time is stretching out in front of me, but it is also finite. At the age of 20, I had my whole adult life in front of me, and now, I am solidly in the middle of my adult life. What does this mean? Well, it’s too late to be a young phenom, it’s too late to count on compound interest to help my nest egg grow if I’m just starting to save, and it’s too late to start saving. Just kidding, it’s never too late to start saving according to Dave Ramsay! It’s also never too late to keep saving, and if you’re going to live until 90+, you will need more money to support yourself.
How Will You Treat Your Remaining Time?
It’s a simple fact that as we age our time on this Earth wanes and becomes more precious. It’s a little scary to think of the things you coulda-shoulda-woulda done when you were younger and now those days are gone. However, you now have experience under your belt, and knowledge is power. I have chosen to be more relaxed in the latter years of my life. I have learned that many of the things I used to worry about never came to fruition, so I wasted time with worry and stress. Stress kills and I think being more emotionally calm will be a great attribute to my living even longer.
Do what makes you happy and get the most out of your remaining time. Enjoy, appreciate, and relish each moment doing whatever that means for you. I think that’s the best way to buy yourself some more time and get the most out of your life!
How Can We Help?
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