In November of this year, the world (well people who like these kind of things) was intrigued to hear a new comet was coming close to the sun, the Comet ISON. Unfortunately it seems the comet flew too close to the sun (hmm, I think we have heard that one before) and burned up or melted.
The comet took me back to a memory I had as a child; a memory that I couldn’t understand then and had put away in my mind until I was ready to understand its meaning.
The time was some time in the early 1970s and I was a young girl. I was riding in the car with my mom. It was just her and I, my five other sisters and one brother were at school, and this was a rare moment I had my mom to herself (and an even rarer moment for my mom not to be surrounded by 7 kids). She was driving us back from somewhere, I can’t remember where now. On the radio they were talking about Haley’s comet and how astronomers expected it to approach earth in 1986. I was always intrigued by the stars, but a comet? How cool would that be?
I said to my mom, “I can’t wait until 1986, so I can see the comet!”
She paused for a moment, then said, “Don’t wish your life away. Time goes too fast the way it is.”
I was confused. This was a big event. “But that’s when the comet will be here. I wish it was 1986 now!”
She replied, and I will always remember the tone in her voice, “No, honey. Time goes too fast.”
At that time I couldn’t comprehend what she was saying. As a child, it seems to take forever for you to grow up. Your twenties seem to pass a bit quicker, but once you have children and can actually measure the passing of time by seeing how much bigger they are getting, time passes very quickly.
My Mom was in her 40’s when we had that conversation, and the reason I believe it stuck in my head is not so much what she said, but the feeling behind it. She sounded sad. She sounded like a woman who had so much in her life that she had wanted to do, and she didn’t get to do it.
Albert Einstein proved time is relative. The past, present and future exist in the same moment. Time is only important in how it relates to you. In that moment with my mom, I saw my whole life ahead of me and I was anxious to get to it; my mom felt her best years were slipping away.
I remember another instance in my own life. I was 43 years old, probably the same age as my mom was when we had that conversation. I had a 6 year old and a 9 year old and I was depressed. I felt that time was flying by, and my beautiful babies were getting too old, too soon. I had a great job in the corporate world, something I always wanted to do, but it broke my heart every day to leave them. Looking at my kids’ baby picture would bring me to tears. Where had the time gone? I would never get that time back.
My husband had the crazy idea that we could quit our jobs and take the kids sailing for a year or two. It seemed impossibly crazy. Give my career up? A career I had worked so hard on? But the more I thought about it, the better it sounded. In the end I listened to my heart, and we embarked on a four year adventure. We took back our time and it was so healing for the entire family.
Since we’ve been back, time is a priority in my life. I don’t hoard it though, or stress over time passing; I LIVE IT.
My motto is Never Trade Time For Money
You can always make money, you can’t make more time.
I try to adhere to this everyday and really focus on doing the things I love, doing a job I love, being with people I love. I try to save my “Yeses” for “Hell Yeses”. I don’t succeed every time, but I try very hard.
But I don’t do it out of fear that I will run out of time. I do it because there is so much in life I want to do. I want to fill every second of my life with what is important to me. In the end, I don’t want any regrets. On their deathbed, no one wishes they had spent more time at work.
How do you spend your time?