The Bank of Time
It happens for everyone at a different time and for different reasons, but I believe this does happen to everyone.
One day, you suddenly realize you are running out of time.
Another Saturday has gone by. Another birthday (your own or your kid’s) is coming around. You realize you’ve lived more than half your life, because you double your age and you realize it’s unlikely you’re going to live to see 2x. If you’re a woman, you reach the age where people — people under 30, especially — no longer see you standing there, their eyes go straight past you like you’re a ghost. You start making a list of all the things you’d like to do once in your life and you see in black and white you’re unlikely to get all of them done. If you want to get any of them done, you’d better get cracking.
That’s a great exercise, by the way: make a list of 100 things you want to do at some point in your life. “Oh, that’s easy,” you say. “I can come up with two thousand things I want to do.” I recommend doing this exercise anyhow. The first 20 come pretty easily. Then you have to start thinking about it. One by one, you begin to remember what it was you wanted to do, what secret dreams you had, what things you wanted to experience before you died.
Recently someone I know got sick. First there was one health problem, and that exposed another health problem, which exposed three more… The last time I saw this person, I realized there aren’t going to be that many more times I see them. It’s eye-opening, watching someone go through this process. What’s worse is, they keep talking about the stuff they’re going to do, and that’s all it’s ever been: talk. You can’t put stuff off to the future indefinitely, and one day you are going to run out of road.
You don’t have time.
Right now I have 30 minutes before my next appointment of the day. What can I do in 30 minutes? I ask myself. I’ve gotten into the unfortunate habit of saying, “I must have at least an hour to write!” So I have the mental mindset I can’t get anything done in only 30 minutes.
Except I am working on changing this mindset, because there are things I want to do, big and small, and I need to use what I’ve got to accomplish them. I can get a lot done in 30 minutes, even if it’s just writing today’s post. Or I could read some more of my current book. Or I can work on my list of things I want to do in my life, carve out just a little tiny bit of what I want to do. I no longer have the time to waste.