How often are we reminded of how short life is, how fleeting it is? Whenever there is a tragedy and someone under 60 years of age passes away, I sit back and think about that dash between dates. It is not a lot of time, and yet we waste so much of it. We waste it on anger. We waste it on frustration. We waste it worrying. We waste it working hard at something we really are not passionate about. We waste it thinking about tomorrow. We waste it replaying the events of the past. We waste so much time on things that don’t really make us feel alive and in the end don’t matter.
I recently attended a funeral of a friend’s husband. He was all of 59 and died of a tragic accident. The words spoken about him, his passion, his booming voice, his laugh, the life of the party all gave you the picture of someone who loved life and loved his family. The amount of time he spent working, as did his wife, were also mentioned. Don’t get me wrong, working hard to provide for your family is very important. But at what expense are we doing that?
Are we living enough in our life or are we living to work? I’m not talking about the missed dance recital or the missed baseball game because of work. I’m talking about not really living our lives. We work. We commute. We take care of homes. We run kids from one activity to the next. Are we so exhausted at night from work that staring at the “boob tube” is all we can muster? We lack passion. We lack being in the moment, and truly enjoying the moment.
The death, like so many others who were too young, forces the thoughts of life and living it to the fullest. Today, everyone is planning for the future. I hear a lot of “I will do that when I retire,” “When I stop working,” “if I can ever retire.” So many of us are working hard, not really getting sheer enjoyment out of life, not really putting passion into life and focused on tomorrow, the next day, the next month, the next year.
When I was contemplating retiring from my corporate career, I kept thinking about the lifestyle I built. What if I didn’t have that same lifestyle because I wasn’t making that same money? A friend of mine said, “you know you can live on much less and really live.” He was so right. He and I both left corporate within a few months of each other and both are enjoying life more now than ever! Not having the daily grind of the corporate hamster wheel where you are working for someone else, at someone else’s beck and call, dealing with constant issues, being strategic and tactical at the same time and rarely are you passionate about what you are doing. Yes, we liked what we did and yes we were both good at it. Many people like their jobs, but there is too much stress in our work and in our lives when we are on that wheel. Jump off and you see a complete difference in your body and your mind.
Of course, not everyone has the ability to jump off, we were blessed. But we all have the ability to change how we live and live more in the moment, enjoying life, finding passion, and igniting it. It got me thinking about the old question, “what would you do if you knew you only had a few months to live?” Would you continue the way you are now, or would you start doing all the things you said you would do when you stopped working? Is this when you would pack you car and take that road trip across the country? Is this when you take your passport and head to Europe or Asia or Africa? Is this when you would forgive others? Is this when you would jump out of plane? Is this what would push you to learn to paint, play tennis, play golf, go zip lining, go see the seven wonders of the world? Is this when you would learn that new language? Would you waste time on household chores, holding grudges, working 10 hour days?
So, I wonder, how can we put more of that passion into our daily lives now? How can we stop focusing on the future so much and waiting until we hit a magic age and live more for today, more in the moment? Working from your passion helps, but what else can we all do that allows us to put a little more life in our life? Life is but a moment….we all need to make the most of it.