Friday, July 24, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Getting the Most Out of Your Days

"Don't be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week's value out of a year while another man gets a full year's value out of a week." ~ Charles Richards

I am obsessed with productivity. (On occasion, I have spent an afternoon watching an Ace of Cakes marathon on the Food Network. Guilty as charged - what can I say? I love cake.) 95% of the time, I'm doing something that I hope will help move my life forward. Reading, writing, connecting with others, visiting museums, exercising, meditating, running, cooking, and observing life. I am an expert scheduler and I strive to be a model of efficiency.

So why is progress so important to me? Why can't I just slow down and go with the flow? Why must I be constantly engaged? Part of it is that I am hopelessly nerdy and have been since birth. 'Why?' is my favorite question, and I ask it loud, proud, and often. It's a reflex. I have an overwhelming desire to be in the know, or at least to try to be in the know. The words "I'm bored" have never crossed my mind, much less come out of my mouth.

The other reason for my constant activity is something more serious. For better or for worse, I am constantly mindful of my age and of the time that's passing. Some people will say that those who are young don't appreciate their youth or their health. They think they'll be beautiful forever. I know it's all fading. Every day I'm looking for a wrinkle, a grey hair, a loss of ability. My WebMD checking can get a bit out of hand from time to time. I was born thinking like an old person, so much so that I am often surprised to look in the mirror and see someone so young.

My siblings and I lost a lot of our family members at a very young age, and those losses stick with us. They changed us. As teenagers, we became painfully aware that life is finite, at least in the form in which we know it. And while I could easily become consumed by the fear of time passing by, instead I focus on making every moment count.

There's a saying that goes something like "if you live a good life, you'll be able to enjoy it twice: once as you're living it when you're young, and again when you're looking back on it when you're old." Given my love of efficiency, this sounds like a great deal to me - I'll get two good lives for the price of one! That's well-worth the effort.


Amanda said...

"I was born thinking like an old person" - I can relate. My mom used to say, "I hope I'm as mature as you are some day"...

I think a focus on productivity, and a carpe diem mindset, are sometimes at odds. Sometimes, the energy we put into time management and goal-setting etc can get out of hand, and create a false sense of control. Sometimes it's better to channel that sense of urgency into immense gratitude for, and enjoyment of, every day.

Christa said...

I agree, Amanda. On the surface the two seem so in sync and then we get so focused on achieving the goals we set that we turn around and realize we've missed out on a dozen other opportunities as interesting as our original goal. Balance - such a necessary and tough thing to achieve.