With the new year underway, lately I have been thinking about the temporality of life. I know this is a deep thought, but the older I get the shorter life seems (I have an upcoming birthday). Correspondingly, life is too short to try fooling ourselves otherwise. So, what are we to do with this realization? I am speaking for myself here, but it naturally makes me want to make the most of my time left here on earth.
One of the practical steps I am taking includes quitting unfruitful activities in favor of fruitful ones, such as giving myself permission to stop reading books that bore me. I kept renewing one library book by a renowned author over and over but I just could not get through it so I finally turned it in and moved on to another title. As they say, so many books, so little time.
Not to be melodramatic, but I have been experiencing some health challenges that got me thinking of how I would live differently if I knew this were my last year alive. Suffice it to say, nothing clears the cobwebs of one’s consciousness like mulling over your own mortality. And a large part of simplifying life involves identifying what works for us and what does not.
Another factor that contributes significantly to our overall quality of life is the relationships we enjoy with other people. Just this morning I hosted a friend for coffee and pastries, over which we explored several meaningful issues in our lives, all in the refreshingly unhurried atmosphere of a winter morning here on the coast of Maine. And one key factor was that we both kept technology at bay during our hour and a half together.
So on that note, allow me to suggest that the greatest gift you can give another person is your undivided attention. And for the love of God, make it one of your new year’s resolutions to connect and communicate regularly with your loved ones. I have a family member who, no matter how many hints I drop about it, fails to appreciate this simple gesture.
In this age of iPhones and the like, none of us has any excuse for not reaching out and staying in touch with one another. Find out people’s preferred mode of communication, whether calls, emails, texts, etc., and contact them. LIFE IS SHORT. And if you live like you were dying, you’ll save yourself a ton of heartache and regret one day.