Words: Ian Kemp, Serenity Life Planner
I‘ve just come back from a few weeks in New Zealand, visiting our son, daughter-in-law and young granddaughter. This is a key part of my life plan, which I worked through with my coach, to clarify how it was going to be possible.
It’s a long way to New Zealand, and no matter how you do it the journey is horrible. We flew via San Francisco there for a couple of nights going out and coming back. This got me thinking about my perspective of time.
On the way out we left San Francisco at 22.45 on Monday and arrived in Auckland at 08.55 on Wednesday. On the way back we left Auckland at 15.30 on Sunday and arrived in San Francisco at 06.40, also on Sunday.
So, on the journey to New Zealand we missed out on Tuesday altogether, but on the way back we arrived nine hours before we had left. What would I have done on that Tuesday, which I had been unable to do? What should I do with the extra nine hours I had been granted in return, apart from the obvious trying to catch up on sleep?
This may be extreme, and certainly is very confusing, but is it really much different to how we regularly treat time? Do we ever pause to consider whether what we are doing at a particular moment serves us, our family or friends, or community? Or is time simply drifting by? So often we tell ourselves ‘I’ll do …….. when the kids have left home/ when I’ve retired/when we’ve just built a little more capital.
The Stoic philosopher Seneca wrote that people are protective of their money, their property and their possessions, yet careless with the one thing they can’t get back – time.
In our planning work we encourage clients to think deeply about the things which are really important to them, the things they would do if they knew they only had a limited amount of time left on this earth, and the things they would regret not having done or been when it’s too late to do anything about them.
Thinking about your mortality is only depressing if you miss the point of it. It is, in fact a recognition that life is a gift, not to be lost in our busyness or wasted on the trivial. It is a way of focussing on purpose, meaning and priorities.
So, think about what you are doing today. Is it really helping you get to where you want to, to be the person you truly want to be? If you’re not sure, or think you might be wasting precious time, give us a call and we can help you understand how you could use every moment thoughtfully and in a way which reflects who you truly are.
To quote another Stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius ‘You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think’.