Living a life of purpose is important to us all, and every one of us has moments that alter the course of our existence.
The problem is this: these moments are usually invisible. These critical moments are never accompanied by a big sign, alerting us to their importance. Instead, life’s crossroads are subtle and fleeting, and camouflaged by the drudgery of living.
We easily recognize the big decisions of our life. Where to attend college, which person to marry or what we want to name our child–these are milestones in life. These things give us great pause, because we want to do the right thing in that moment.
But the quiet trick of life is this: the way we get to our major milestones is by making thousands of tiny, less important decisions.
This realization can be crippling. When you realize that every single thing you do gives direction to your existence, it’s easy to become frozen.
So here’s a big hint, to make it all easier for you: the most important decision we quietly make is how we spend our time.
How we spend our time navigates us to these tiny crossroads, which then lead us to our major decisions. Time, you see, is our great equalizer. No matter who we are, or how the world rates us, we are each given twenty-four hours in a day. How you spend those twenty-four hours is your choice. Sure–some of those hours must be committed to obligations like work, or home maintenance, or things you probably don’t think are much fun.
But what about your free time? What about those hours not claimed by the outside world? What you do with these are of epic importance. I’ve heard that many people on their deathbed regret the time they spent worrying, or working overtime at the office away from their families.
With the perspective of years, they realize as they lay dying their time was spent on things that didn’t really matter. They decide that maybe, just maybe, they didn’t live a life of purpose, after all.
What about you? Looking back, where do you see wasted hours in your life?…
My sad prediction is this: with the rise of social media, we are going to have people who will look back, and regret the time they spent on cat videos. Or the Kardashians. Or any of the other examples of stupidity that abound in our current world. Because look here, my Friend–every time you click on a link, you’re choosing to cross one of those microscopic crossroads in your life. You are choosing to spend your time on something.
Think hard: does what you are doing really matter? Is that link you clicked really important to your personal growth? Does what you spend your time on build you, or others? Does it change the world around you for the better, or does it just melt into your past, intangible and inconsequential?
You can fight this. You can spend your time differently.
For example, many people are startled to find out that my husband and I don’t own a television. No kidding. It’s not just that we don’t have cable, or satellite–we don’t even have the box. We’ve decided we don’t want the poison, the noise, the negativity–we choose to live differently than the rest of society. When home together, we read, and we write. I write words, and he writes music. When we are together, we actually talk to one another about things that matter to us, without some canned soundtrack blaring out of a TV.
We recognize the time we have together is precious, and we want to spend it with each other in ways that are creative and meaningful.
As cheesy as this might seem, I saw a music video several years ago by Nickelback which transfixed me. Yeah, I know–Nickelback, and its fans, get teased pretty badly, but this video is incredible. In it, each person has a timer over his or her head, which counts down how long (s)he has left to live. Everyone passes each other by, completely unaware that they are quietly approaching death.
That’s a real thing, Friend.
You, and I, are going to die one day. We don’t know when that day is, but it’s ahead. Between now and then, we can change the world, one tiny step at a time. Or we can let time drip by, impacting no one, changing nothing, and ignoring the gift of life that we have been given.
It’s your choice, Beautiful.
What’s it going to be?…Do you want to live a life of gentle courage, where you choose to respond with kindness? Do you want to grant dignity to those you meet, in every situation? Or do you want to be one who silently turns away from your chance to make change, by ignoring those opportunities to interact with grace? Do you want to spend your time making others feel valued? Or do you want to spend your time with ear buds shoved into your head, ignoring the beauty of the world around you, and all the people you share this glorious planet with?
Each of these decisions are tiny crossroads, leading you on your life’s path.
Please choose wisely, okay?
Below is the link to the video I mentioned. I encourage you to watch it, and then take stock of how you’ve been spending your time. Because…. what if you don’t have a lot of it left?..
Then, I want you to decide this:
What do you want to do with the time you have remaining? Then go, and make it happen!
Feel free to comment below, and please be sure to subscribe, so that we can stay connected.
Click here for the video, please. Seriously–it’s great.
**In quiet honor of Eddie Wilson.**
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**Chanler Jeffers is a woman who has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent, was a single parent for many years, has survived cancer and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.