I asked her to explain.
She discussed how she rationalized purchasing a new couch for her living room because she hated the couch she owned. She further explained that she was 67 years old and going to die soon, that no one lives forever, and that because she has maybe 10 or 15 more years to live, and that it was perhaps a silly purchase.
I was, truly, taken off guard.
I asked her if that is the way to live.... to wake up every day and think you are going to die soon...
I, for one, do not have the desire to focus my attention on this inevitable issue. Fortunately, I am not aware of anything that truly predicts the exact day and moment of our individual expiration dates, and I am grateful for that.
OK... one more story. You'll see my point for including it here in a moment.
During Thanksgiving dinner a few weeks ago, a relative in their 70s asked another relative in their 70's, "So, what hurts you?" I actually turned to her and asked if she truly said that.
So, here's my opinion.
You can be 67 and start a fabricated countdown that is a focus point of each day, making decisions based on your personal expected longevity. You can be 70, or maybe you are only 20 years old for that matter - age does not really make a difference here - and focus on an ailment, or something else, that creates a negative focus in your life.
OR, you can focus on the joy of being here and savoring the NOW.
I did not always have this mindset. In my past I admit that I lived in frustration and "wished" my life away (for example, can't wait till the weekend, can't wait till the kids can do this stuff themselves, can't wait till I finish college) in times when I felt challenged. My only regret is that I did not learn to appreciate the NOW much earlier in my life experience.
A few years ago I read a book by Eckert Tolle entitled The Power of Now, where he noted that there is no past, there is no future, there is only the now. Think about that.
Yes, sometimes we may dwell on things that happened in the past. So many times this can effect our life for many years, sometimes in a negative manner, where we blame or makes excuses about our current situation based on something that had happened. Keep in mind, whatever this may have been, we cannot change it. In my recent past I have realized that it is our choice whether we want to let that "whatever" situation keep us stuck and paralyzed. I have learned now that we only have the ability to move forward, but -- I'm repeating it because it's important -- that it is our choice to do so.
And then there is Mr. Tolle's statement that there is no future... Yes, we plan for the future, as I believe we should. We choose a career, have goals, plan and look forward to things. Where would we be if we had nothing to look forward to? I plan, and strive, and do; but, now I realize that we cannot 100% control how anything will turn out. Personally, I love looking forward to amazing things to come, and expect only the best outcomes that will fulfill all of my desires.
Lastly, the fact (or concept) that there is only the NOW: Only the present -- this moment, this second, this day.
In my present life I choose to embrace this concept.
Mind you, I'm not perfect. There are still times were I find myself dwelling on things that happen, or at times, still let things "in" that affect my personal behavior. BUT, I am proud that I now recognize when this is happening, STOP and then shift my thinking. Where something may have, in the past, affected me for a period of time, I am proud that I have developed an awareness so that a situation no longer effects me for too long. I have also, and this is very recent, adopted a new mindset where I no longer hold things in that bother me. I have recognized that not communicating only harbors negative feelings and frustration. It's a scary thing, but if someone says something or does something that bothers me, I tell them. I recognize that we all are a work in progress. I have decided to, and consciously make steps to, make every moment as enjoyable as possible.
In my book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, (www.IfIKnewThenBook.com) in the very last page in the "Parting Words" chapter, I did create an analogy that I will explain here.
Due to the fact that our society revolves around money, I used the dollar bill to explain my thought in the book. So, take a dollar out of your wallet. Go ahead and do it. Trust me.
Now, look at that dollar.
We purchase things we need and things we want with our dollars. So, let's use this dollar to "pay" for this second of our life. Imagine that every second of your day you are spending one dollar. As there are 86,400 seconds in one 24 hour day, that equals $86,400. Pretty visual, huh?
So, imagine spending $86,400 to pay for your irreplaceable time today. Remember that every second is a second you cannot redo.
Will you spend your dollars to bring you joy, or will you spend them in a way that does not make you feel good?
Think about it. Take a moment to reflect on your experience. And, here's a concept to consider: The fact that, every second, you have an opportunity to change your next second.
If you are enjoying how you are spending your seconds, keep going in that manner. If not, maybe it's time to shift something -- a job, school, a relationship, or something else in your current life experience, and make a plan so that you can enjoy your next one. I believe that we all have the power within us to change our experience. Sometimes, perhaps, all it may take is the awareness that we want to have a different life experience, and to take one small step to get started in a new direction.
Maybe today is the "someday" that we shift our plan of action to make our next second amazing.
I plan to love all my seconds. I recognize, after 50 years in my life, that it is MY CHOICE on how I want to feel, and it is a waste of my seconds to feel badly in any way.
There's one more thing that I'm going to add here before I end this, something that might help someone in their quest for quality of life. One of our board members of the Time to Play Foundation, at New Years, said that instead of just celebrating the one day, "Happy New Year", why don't we celebrate everyday: "Happy New Day". I thought this was brilliant and have personally adopted this celebratory mindset. Happy New Day to you -- every day. Every day is a clean slate and a new opportunity to celebrate life.
I hope this helps spark a thought in you, and that you pass this on to someone else who may need it.
After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.
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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life. The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see http://www.timetoplay.com/ for more information.