“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least” (Johann Wolfgang van Goethe)
I have a mantra in life. That is we make times for the things are important to us. I too much hear people say how they haven’t got time for people and tasks they enjoy, and my response is always the same. Our lives are about priorities and we make time for things that we enjoy that is the nature of the beast. If we don’t make time for things that we enjoy and make us happy well we should change our priorities.
Time is our most valuable and finite resource, who we give it to is our greatest gift.
This reminds me of my father, when I was young he used to work massive amounts of overtime to ensure his family lived the best life they possibly good. We always had holidays, we always had presents at birthdays and Christmas and we always had basically whatever we wanted. Whether this lead to two very spoilt kids is a question for another day.
However one of the most memorable moments of my life that is stuck in my head is the time just before I was due to emigrate to Australia. I remember I sat in a pub with my father and mother, and my dad said to me, I wish I’d spent more time with you when you growing up, I missed so much of your childhood because I was always working. That was and still is quite an emotional moment for me and a great driver in my life to not repeat that mistake with the people who are close to me.
I suppose you prioritise on what makes you happy in life but also need to be mindful of what will make you happy in the future. In the short term we all think going to certain events or heading out on rainy evenings is painful, but I think there is a much longer game to be played there. Although the thought of these things maybe painful, in my experience once I’m there I enjoy them and these events maybe ways to cement friendships or build relationships with people I’ve never met.
The point is sometimes our thinking is so short term and I guess humans are programmed to think that way. The great economist John Maynard Keynes famously said “In the long run we’re all dead”. But do we really know what damage we’re doing with our short term focus?
Don’t get me wrong, I agree we should live every day as though it is our last and after my incredibly lucky escape on a Victorian road nearly 14 years ago, where a brake adjuster pierced the windscreen of a car I was in and missed me by inches, my whole outlook on life changed and I still to this day wake up every morning with an optimistic outlook to my day ahead knowing there was a chance I may not even be here.
I see beauty I would never have seen before that event. It really is everywhere I look I just need to open my eyes to it. The sunrise, the sunset, people laughing, friends, scenery, the food I love, beer, a shop I’ve never been to before, creating something from nothing, a chance encounter with a stranger or achieving things I didn’t think were possible.
But I don’t necessarily think they are conflicting ideals. The live everyday like your last mantra can be balanced by considering the legacy you want to leave.
We should all be concerned about our legacy, because it comes from the way we live our lives. What do I want my legacy to be? I want it to be about positiveness, integrity, being happy with the actions I’ve taken over my life, not repeating mistakes, kindness, not walking on people, not letting people down and doing what I think is right.
All of that is a lifetime’s work though and something I need to continue to build on.