You may have seen the quote by American syndicated humorist Art Buchwald,1 “The best things in life aren’t things.” It has a way of popping up in my mind whenever I’m about to buy a new gadget that I’ve seen advertised or exchange a household appliance for the latest model. Sometimes I give in anyway, but at least this saying usually helps me give the purchase some extra thought and consideration.
I’m someone who tends to go by inspiration, and I’ve long been bothered by my scattered approach to setting goals, so I was searching for an effective way to make it through my to-do list. It seems so easy to pick out the things I prefer doing or feel inspired to tackle first, but unfortunately, this strategy often leads to procrastination, especially since those “favorites” often aren’t the most important or priority tasks. Since the important stuff doesn’t just disappear, I find myself cramming in order to fit everything in.
Imagine if you could go back in time and relive any moment in your life. What decisions would you make differently? What specific moments would you enjoy again? With whom would you spend more time?
I recently watched a movie called About Time,1 where the men of a certain family had the ability to go back in time to correct mistakes or replay moments in their lives. I’m sure at times all of us wish we could have this ability. We could right any wrongs, change unwise decisions, or take our proverbial foot out of our mouth when we had said or done something awkward. We could also learn more about interesting people and topics and have multiple tries to find out what works and what doesn’t.
Weary. That used to be my word for December. Yes, I know it doesn’t convey the true wonder of the season. But the days are hard and long, and by this time of year, I have 300-plus behind me. I just wish the year wouldn’t race past me and leave me feeling totally spent—and still coming up short.
Most of us are pretty busy people. We usually have more to think about and tend to than we can actually fit into our day. We all want to stay on top of our lives, but for me at least, keeping my priorities straight regarding the many things that I want and need to do can sometimes be a challenge, and my days are usually filled with more than I can fit into them.
I’ve always been an accomplishment-oriented person. I prided myself in knowing what to do, having my to-do list all prioritized, with the most important tasks highlighted, circled, or written in large print. I’d zip around town, stopping here and there, knocking off the “minors” while on my way to accomplish another “major.”
There’s so much that you need to do each day, so much that you want to do, and so much that others expect of you. You feel pulled in all directions. Pressure. Tension. Anxiety. Will it ever stop?
The books on the shelf have similar titles: Slowing Down Modern Life, The Rush Culture, Putting a Price on Speed … Most everyone agrees that contemporary life is lived in the fast lane, and we’re battling the consequences in the form of stress and other maladies. It might seem as though life was much simpler a hundred years ago, but even changes taking place back then were a cause for concern for people at the time, as illustrated in the following extracts:
Most people have heard the acronym “YOLO” thrown around for the past couple of years. It stands for “you only live once.” Pop stars and celebrities have made it a catchphrase to promote doing crazy things or taking risks because, hey, “You only live once!”
It’s an attractive thought. Why worry about the future? Why subscribe to having to answer for decisions we make when we can pretend it all doesn’t matter anyway? Why can’t we only be concerned about what makes us happy right now?
Just about everyone is excited to receive a gift. There is something wonderful about knowing that someone cared enough to think about what you would like, shopped for it or created it themselves, and gave it to you.
There is also a special joy in giving gifts. When you find a gift that you know the recipient will love, it’s fun to present it to them. The recipient’s delight becomes a gift to you and inspires you to keep giving. But stop and think for a moment of all the gifts you’ve received in your life so far, and which ones have stood out.