There is a really cool video on YouTube that demonstrates time, how we use it and what we have left after we “manage life” using jelly beans. What remains for the average adult (assuming we make it to adult hood) is 2740 full days or 65760 hours. The basic question posed in this thought provoking video is what will you do with that time and how will you choose to spend it? We walk around in a collective delusion that there will be another tomorrow and mostly, there will be. Until of course, there’s not. Which got me thinking. WHAT you do today matters. More importantly HOW you do it, your intent matters even more. How much time is wasted? No, I am not talking about being more productive, I’m talking about living a meaningful life with a focus on what matters to you.
What makes a meaningful life?
Often what matters most to us is closely aligned to our values. Some of these values we inherit and since we grew up with them and that is ‘just how we roll’. Think of a time when you’ve defended something that you thought you felt strongly about but don’t really know why. It’s probably an inherited value that you took on without really questioning whether or not it fits with you or if it is still applicable to your life.
There are other times when you may have found yourself upset about something and the degree to which you were upset is out of kilter with what was said or happened. This can be a demonstration of what matters to you and when it matters to someone else less that can be cause for contention. What’s the cost? It’s connection both to yourself and to others.
“It’s not the way I would do it.”
It is easy to throw our opinions around and denigrate others’ choices and decisions. After all, “I wouldn’t do it that way”. This is when the Should word rears it’s ugly head. ‘Should’ implies that there is a right way and a wrong way to do something and inherent in the implication is that MY way IS the right way ergo YOUR way is the WRONG way. What right do we have to tell someone else how they “should” live? When it comes down to it your should or their should for that matter, is NOTHING more than an opinion.
Opinions are the words we use against others
How opinionated are you? Your opinion is just a point of view based on your truth, your experience and what YOU value. However, I am not you and you are not me. That we want or value different things means nothing more than that: We want and value different things.
Right and wrong?
The trouble arises out of our need to be right, driven by a desperation not to be wrong. As if there is a right and wrong way when really there is just what works for you and your opinions about it. I look at my son Jai and the way he ties his shoe laces. From my perspective, his method is both backward (and I mean that literally not disparagingly) and inefficient. I figure it is all tied up with his dyslexia as it permeates so much of his behaviour, so I do not attempt to change it. At least, not any more. After all HE is the one tying his shoe laces, not me. He seems to be quite OK with it. It works for him and that is what matters.
Shoe laces, life and values..
If we live in alignment with our values, it is easier to experience a meaningful life than if we don’t. I value efficiency and attempt to systematize and optimize everything that I do. Jai on the other hand values being relaxed and becomes uneasy when there is too much to do and too little time to do it in. We both value each other and our relationship which is what matters the most. So, as in so much of life there is a choice to be made. Some things can wait while other things cannot. The price we pay for putting those seemingly important things in front of our relationships and the quality of connection we have with our loved ones might just be too high.
What if there isn’t a tomorrow? Hopefully, there will be AND I think I will go and buy a pack of jelly beans to remind me that there mightn’t. Hell, I might even try tying my shoe laces backwards. After all connection IS a pathway to a meaningful life.