I just talked to a friend about something my accountant told me this morning. I was wearing my running outfit, already prepared for a run in my favorite park. My accountant happens to have her office close by, so I thought I just drop of some paperwork before my morning run. We ended up talking about life and she said something that came totally unexpected. She is 61 years old and told me that she is so happy to see me following my heart and not being afraid to change directions in my professional life again. But what she said next was something I didn’t expect to hear this morning:
“You know, I have lived longer, than I will live from now on. Just a few years ago I started to only do the things I enjoy and love – despite what anyone tells me or expects me to do. I don’t have the time to waste my time with things that don’t matter to me anymore.”
Wow. This came so unexpected. She might be 61, but you wouldn’t guess that. She works out regularly, she plays golf every afternoon whenever the sun is out, works whenever she’s not playing golf, looks gorgeous, healthy, fit and happy. Just to make that clear, living in Germany those sunny days are def not the norm, so she treats herself with golf on those precious days. She is always positive, I trust her 100% with my company and I thought she was just living every second to its fullest – simply because she is that kind of person. But no. What she told me this morning, was that she just became this kind of person the second she recognized that time is endless. It opened up her perspective for the things that really matter to her.
She further said “A friend wanted to know about my last time where I just went on vacation to do nothing, just nothing. Simply relax by the beach or at a spa. But you know, Melissa, I don’t have time for that. It feels wrong to spend my time doing nothing. I love to be active, I want to do something with my time. When I go on vacation I play golf, work out, hike, explore the place I visit. I don’t want to spend it doing nothing. I want to fill the time with some purpose.”
How do you feel reading about someone who feels to not have enough time left in life and simply wanting to enjoy it? I heard these kinds of messages several times from different people. It is nothing new to me but it’s always a great reminder, to be even more mindful about how I spend my time. In case you never had the chance to talk to someone with this perspective, I hope you get the chance soon. I believe there is no more powerful way to understand how precious time is, than talking to someone who is conscious of the fact that he has not much time left. It is so powerful. When she said
“I don’t have the time to waste my time with things that don’t matter to me anymore.”, I just thought: Anymore? Do we ever have time to waste?
Wasting a day or a week with something insignificant when you’re 20 might not seem like a big deal or loss – you assume you still have 80 more years to go. But do we? Not everyone does. We never know. We can’t prepare for it. The only thing we can be sure to have, is the current moment we are in, right now. The past is gone and how the future looks like is something that we can just assume, but we’ll only see it, when the future becomes our present.
The second thing that got me thinking was “A few years ago I started to only do things I enjoy and love – despite what anyone tells me or expects me to do.” To me, this is the answer, why people often don’t do the things, they would prefer to do – because they try to fit in, try to fulfill some outside expectations. They rather hold back their desires, in order not to be judged. People though, the second they recognize that time is limited, seem not to care very much about these expectations anymore. They start to listen to what their heart tells them. They just follow what feels good. They don’t care whether other people think that’s good or bad. If it feels good to them, they do it. Why don’t we do it? People’s reaction won’t change, it is just our behavior that changes. Why not change it today, while we still have time?
All this is, is a change of perspective. Being mindful of how to spend our time. Knowing that time is limited, and that there is no time to waste with things that we don’t enjoy. We only have today because we don’t know what the future holds. Starting to embrace our own truth, despite what anyone else around us might say. It is nothing that magically happens when one gets older or when people for any other reason get closer to the end of their life. In fact, my accountant might as well have another 40 years or more ahead – still a decade more than I have even been on earth so far. Maybe not. Again, we don’t know. But to her it seems like she has not enough time left, to keep spending time with the way she was used to. As people get older they also worry about their health. But this is no different for a 20 year old. The average person might get far older than 20 but many don’t or get some kind of disease. Age is so relative. We should simply forget about it or at least give it less importance.
I don’t want to scare anyone. Especially as I believe everything happens for a reason and that death is just a transition on our soul’s journey. What I want to point out though, is that how can we have the audacity to think at 20 that we still have sooo much time, when in fact we don’t have a clue how much time we have left? Why do we need to wait until we see the end getting closer until we free ourselves from all the outside expectations and start living life the way we want to?
As I said before it is simply a perspective switch. We can switch perspective at any time. And here is my plea to you, your heart, your soul:
Don’t wait for the perfect time. Today is the perfect time. If you dream it, you can do it. The universe doesn’t provide you with a dream or desire to do something, without equipping you with the necessary tools to actually make it a reality.
Yes, of course, making our dreams reality is hard and the path might be filled with many obstacles and failures we need to overcome first. But those challenges are necessary for our personal growth. Great things, new things are out of our comfort zone. They are uncomfortable. Running for the first time is uncomfortable. One is out of breath in a matter of minutes, the legs might hurt and you just want to give up before the first 10 minutes are over. But if you keep going, if you keep practicing, you can end up running a marathon eventually. You are made to overcome any challenge. No matter how bad something might be, we can overcome it until the day we die. There is nothing stronger than our ability to adapt to change and to heal ourselves, recover and start over. This is our human super-power. It is nature’s super-power. Have you ever seen a piece of land that was completely burned down? After some time though, the first few green leaves start to grow, in the midst of this seemingly dead area. I mean, how powerful is that? Or a tree, that has been cut down, but after some time little branches start to grow at the bottom of the trunk? This is how strong nature is and we are part of nature and hold this kind of power within ourselves.
Don’t be afraid of any challenge. Whether that is overcoming people’s judgment, feeling like a failure (which you aren’t! get this thought out of your head! You are learning, that is all!), whether that is overcoming a heart break, losing a loved one, getting a disease, losing money, losing your family, or simply feeling like you don’t know what your purpose here on earth is. You will figure it out. It might be easier said, than done but do you really expect it to be easy?
Think of one of the biggest dreams you have in life. Let it be something really big that might be hard to believe that it will ever become reality. Of course it is not going to be easy? If it was, it would already exist, don’t you think? It won’t be easy but it is possible.
We are surrounded by things people thought weren’t possible. The device you are reading this on, cars, internet, along with so many other things. The people inventing those things, were people who did not care about what others said. They believed in themselves and they overcame tons of challenges.
And if you think now “I am not this kind of person. I am not this exception.” – you are right. In order to make your dream a reality you need to believe in it. But if you believe “True! I can do this! I believe I will find a way.” – you are right, too! It comes down on what you believe in, that is your reality.
Remember the friend I mentioned in the very first sentence? She told me “Why did no one ever teach us that challenges, failure and all of this, is just the normal cycle of life? It is just normal and nothing to worry about but just something to overcome. Instead we learned to be afraid of challenges and to be afraid of other people’s opinions. We learned that other people know more and we should not overstep but rather listen to what other people have already experienced and simply fit in. I really wish someone taught me, that challenges are just normal and that we can overcome them, every single time, over and over again.”
This is my message to you today. If you didn’t grow up knowing that challenges are normal and that you can overcome them, I want to tell you exactly that.
Challenges are normal. They are part of life, and they won’t stop as long as you are alive. You will face challenges over and over again. And this is not only ok but necessary for your personal growth. Be grateful for the challenges, without them you wouldn’t be the person you are today. Know that they will come and even more important know that you will overcome them over and over again. There is no challenge big enough to break you. You were born ready for any challenge ahead.
I wish someone had told me that earlier and I hope today is still a good time for you to hear that. Let me rephrase that, today is the perfect time for you to hear that. That is exactly the reason why you are reading this. This article was meant to be read by you. I hope it changes your perspective and empowers you to live the life of your dreams, starting today.