We may be following a dream or course set out for us by someone else – our parents, teachers, or other adults who thought they knew what was best or right for us. Things might look great and we feel like we’re checking all the boxes. And then, at some point we may find ourselves unhappy, dissatisfied, even if things look great on the outside.
Somewhere along the way, many of us hit a point of wondering what the heck we’re doing. Feeling like the goals we had set don’t matter as much any longer, whether we’ve reached them or not. We begin questioning what really matters. Is it having a 6 or 7 figure salary? The fancy car? The prestigious title or position? Who are we trying to impress and what are we trying to prove?
So, we begin to look at the pace we’ve been going at and find that it’s just not sustainable. In order to see if what you’re doing is sustainable, take a moment and get really honest about your energy, resources, reserves, and sense of enjoyment and fulfillment. You may discover you don’t want to keep going the way you have been for decades. If that’s the case, it’s time to start looking for what brings a sense of contentment, peace, and joy.
Each one of us gets to define what success is for us. How is it measured and how will you know if you’ve arrived? What will a successful life look like? How will you be spending your time? Who will you be with? What does an ideal day look like in a successful life (for you)?
Asking these questions can free us from staying on a path that no longer makes sense. It allows us to lean into our own values and priorities and create our reality with these as our guiding forces.
One friend says “Hey, we only get so many heartbeats…” True and that number is unknown. But each day we can decide where we allow those heartbeats to take us. What we do know it that “finitude” is certain. This life will end. When you are looking back over your days, how will you feel about the way you have spent them?
The Dash Poem
by Linda Ellis
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
From the beginning...to the end
He noted that first came the date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years
For that dash represents all the time
That they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
Know what that little line is worth
For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars...the house...the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering this special dash
Might only last a little while
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life's actions to rehash...
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent YOUR dash?
As you reflect on your life and how you’re spending your time, energy, and resources today, are you content? If not, what changes do you want to make?
As you look ahead to the rest of your life, how do you want to feel? What impact do you want to have made? What do you need to do now so that you don’t burn out before you get there?