Time is the great equalizer. No one, no matter their circumstances, where they live, their wealth, smarts, family or job, gets any more time than anyone else. We each only have 1440 minutes a day. If we live to be 80 we get 29,200 days (a few extra with leap years). It sounds like a lot when you calculate it that way. Unfortunately, we never know how much time we’re going to get in this life. What we do know, and do have control over is how we spend that time, right? Yes and no.
I hesitate because I’m not sure how I feel about the word spend. That implies a need to account for all your time. It is that very idea that tends to tether us to our calendars, planners, and to-do lists. How often do you zip through a day or a week, so focused on just getting things done that you might not be able to tell someone about last week without looking at your calendar?
We get so busy doing that we forget about experiencing. Life is to be savored. (tweet)
I used to be that way too, just running through life, barely taking time to notice it. A lot of things have shifted in my life and business in the last 15+ years. I’ve made a conscious effort to move from having a busy life to having a full life. What’s the difference?
Just like you, my days, weeks and years can be tracked by to-dos, appointments, events, meetings, work with clients, and special occasions. I’m busy, but I don’t live my life that way. I choose to be fully present wherever I am, whatever I’m doing. Presence gives me a full life. I’m not perfect at it. I get distracted…squirrel! But I’m better at it today than I was yesterday. I was better at it last week than I was last year. It takes practice. In our world of excessive inputs and the likelihood that at this moment you have three screens open and on in front of you (computer, phone, TV), it takes conscious decisions and diligence to be present.
I’ve written about being present, being mindful, being in the now before. I’m writing about it again today because I want you to truly LIVE your life, to experience it, to soak it up! Make memories that you actually remember and can describe from all five senses because you were truly in the moment, not because you snapped a selfie. Enjoy your family and friends in a way that love and light are felt when you’re not in the same room. Have a full life!
When you fully embrace and integrate your mind, body, spirit and emotions by being rooted in the present moment consistently, something wonderful happens. You not only more fully live and experience the now, you also build up a resiliency and capacity to take on whatever comes your way. When you’re living a rushed life, always thinking of what’s next or what just happened, it is as if you’re standing on your tippy toes, arms stretched up high. A strong breeze or slight nudge on your shoulder could knock you over, crashing you to the floor. When you are present your feet are firmly embedded in the soil, your arms slightly out from your sides providing stability. You may get shaken by the wind, but you’ll be able to catch yourself. When life gets rough there is no way around it you must go through it. You need the resiliency you get from fully living life day by day, being in the present. Interestingly, that’s also what you hear from people about getting over a loss or difficult time – take it day by day. That’s extra hard to do when you’re not used to living in the moment.
Sadly, there has been a lot of loss among my circle of friends in recent months. The lives lost were all cut short suddenly, without warning. They didn’t know their time was ending so soon. Fortunately, these particular souls were people who had full lives. They were intentional about their 1440 minutes each day and made the most of their 365 days each year, even when those days were about doing nothing at all. We still wish they had more.
I’ve watched the impact of these difficult times on their loved ones. It is clear who has the resiliency and balance that comes from being in the present moment, and who can only crash to the ground. This isn’t a statement about emotional depth or the ability to “handle” hard times. However, cultivating a way of being in the now in your day to day, makes you better equipped to both embrace and move through challenging times, whatever the circumstances.
This is my wish for you: experience your 1440 minutes each and every day. Touch, see, hear, smell and taste your life. Make memories. Build resiliency. Have a full life and live it fully.
Originally posted May 19, 2015.