Friday, March 05, 2004

What Do You Really Value In Your Life?

Have you taken time lately to look at what is really important to you in your life? I was having that conversation with someone at work yesterday who is so bogged down by workload that she can't see which end is up. So in my blatant 'honesty-in-your-face' kind of way I gave her a small exercise to do. I told her to write down the year she was born and then, in chart form, to write all the years to date. Then to estimate, based on family history and lifestyle, to what age she thought she would live and to write all the years between now and that date.

At that point I asked her to cross off all the years that have passed. And then to work backwards and cross off all the years she felt she wouldn't be productive enough to accomplish what she had yet to do or wished to do.

And then she saw what was left .....there weren't many years left uncrossed, and looked at me in shock....telling me that was cruel.

I told her, no, it was in your face honesty....something to make people wake up to the reality that time passes whether or not we wish it to and if we let it pass without doing what we're passionate about, sharing the time with those we love and want to experience life with, then we've let our most precious commodity slip through our fingers.


We can't get it back. We have to do whatever it is now, not "one day" because one day is usually a day too late.

Because of all the demands on our time, we might not reflect on this often enough. For me it comes down to the people most important in my life, laughter, and respect for who I am and what I stand for. That also means respecting myself enough that I go after and do what is most important to me.

So try that exercise and while you're doing it, ask yourself these questions:
What would I miss with every atom of my being if it were taken away from me? (People, things, abilities).
What is most important in my life?
What don't I want to live without? (People, things, feelings)

Then look at the number of years uncrossed on your sheet and ask yourself when are you going to get off your you know what and go after them, do them, feel it, experience it. Later might be too late.

Donna Karlin

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