No, no, not the rapper, although I do love me some Too $hort now and then (“Gettin’ It” anyone?). I’m referring to LIFE being too short. Too, too, short. Recently my little girls have been talking to me about college. They are only seven and eight years old…and we’re talking about why people go to college, and where people live during college (AT HOME OF COURSE! Kidding.), and where they themselves might go to college. Terrifying.
This morning at work a colleague of mine resigned. She was promptly escorted from the building. She told me on her way out that she’d decided that “life is too short.” Too short for what?! Working? Working where we (and now just I) work? Raising money for a living? What?!
Not much later I was in line to check-in at the doctor’s office and I overheard an older gentleman (maybe late 70s) in front of me talking about how he’s leaving for Florida. He was explaining that he’s driving there. The girl checking him in said that she’d fly if it were her. He said he wanted to fly but that the others with whom he’s traveling won’t fly. He then admitted that he’d never been on an airplane. The girl cheerfully said “someday you will!” And he said “I don’t have much time!” He was being sarcastic but it made me SAD.
I’m not going to spend this post talking about how I should tell the little girls, my husband, my family, and my girlfriends that I love them more often…although it’s never a bad idea…but I’m thinking that I have a lot of power in how I live this life and making sure I don’t just waste my time. I don’t want to wake up and realize the girls are actually leaving for college and think I coulda/woulda/shoulda done things differently. I think THIS is the year to make things happen. After all…it’s the year of what if!
I often think of where I want to be in one, five, ten years in regards to my relationships, work, etc. Sometimes I get caught up in where I WANT to be in the FUTURE and I get super impatient (notice a theme here?) with where I AM right NOW. Logically, I understand that I’m not going to get any of the places I want to be unless I lay the groundwork now. But sometimes I find myself going to work, staring at my computer, and thinking ‘in five years when such and such happens I won’t be sitting here.’ I’m thinking that’s not a very effective way to move ahead.
My girlfriend Ess and I have spent a lot of time talking about how we have’t been the best versions of ourselves. We get caught up in the minutia of life and operate at a level that is far below what we’re capable of. Then we realize that we’ve wasted all sorts of time doing that. We’re appalled that we’ve been able to get away with it. We feel guilty for it. And we try to figure out a for one, why we’ve slipped, and b for two, how to get back to the people we know we are capable of being.
The thing is…if I’m a lesser version of myself I can’t imagine I will have the will, ambition, energy, chutzpah, desire, or wisdom I need to get to where I really want to be in the future. Furthermore, what kind of example am I setting for the little girls if I’m all talk, and if I just shuffle through life with bursts of inspiration and effort once in a blue moon?
I want my girls to grow up dreaming big, sprinting after their dreams, putting in the work to get there (even when it’s tedious and heartbreaking and sometimes awful), and really really REALLY happy and satisfied. I’ll be honest…when I’m going through the motions I might be “happy” with my life but I’m not really really REALLY happy. And I’m not satisfied. I’m restless, bummed out, and don’t feel fulfilled.
So if life is short…if that’s today’s thought…I’m not going to sit down and create a bucket list, I’m not going to figure out how I can be retired in five years, I’m not going to tell everyone they should live every day like it’s their last, instead I’m going to sit myself down and give myself a good talking to.
This blog is a wicked awesome start, there is no doubt, and the things I’ve laid out here on theyearofwhatif are all very important things for improving MY life (I’ll never pretend to know if what I write here is a good idea for you…except for maybe music recommendations). But unless I keep on keeping on…even when there are no readers, even when there are no comments, even when I write and publish something that I think might be the worst post in the history of blogs, even when I’m so so tired…and UNLESS I actually put these things into action, it. Just. Won’t. Matter. And I’ll wake up in ten years, pack my oldest little girl up for Harvard (obviously), and wonder where all MY dreams and aspirations went.
Bottom line is this…life might be too short but I don’t have to waste it. I have the power and opportunities to really live this life the way it should be lived. And I have the power to become all of the things I want to become. All I have to do is…just do it.
TODAY: What if I stop wasting time and simply become the best version of myself NOW? What if instead of thinking about where and who I want to be one/five/ten years down the line I just live like I’m that person RIGHT. THIS. VERY. SECOND.