The Time of our Lives

If your life is even remotely like mine then you are an extremely busy person. I am in the extraordinarily rare position of having three ‘other-focused’ jobs that allow me to spend my days indulging my passion for working with troubled teens, my evenings are spent in my private practice working with clients to help them get a handle on their lives, then there are always the writing and speaking commitments that seem to continue to multiply like rabbits. I mention these commitments, not as a boast or statement of righteousness but as an introduction to the idea that even time, productive and well managed as it may be, can still be the source of other deeper problems in your life. An example of this occurred to me this past weekend when I was writing a letter to a friend from childhood (we’ve known each other since before we both had all our adult teeth).

By way of background, my correspondent and I have been friends from primary school, through high school, and right up to today; and while we may only see each other once every few years, we have still managed to maintain a close and supportive relationship; one that has grown deeper and more profound over time. Please don’t get the wrong idea, the nature of our relationship is, and always has been purely platonic as we are both extremely happy in our own personal relationships with our significant others. Rather, the relationship is one in which we can be completely open and honest regarding the happenings in our lives, our thoughts, and reactions to them, as well as posing and exchanging perspectives on philosophical questions. My friend has also been frustratingly waging an on again/off again battle with a personal habit (no names and my correspondence is voluminous enough to give plausible deniability should my friend be called out as a result of this post).

Further, I spent a good portion of my military career as a nuclear, ICBM combat crew and flight commander. This is significant as every time we stepped into the simulator, either for a normal monthly training or as an operational readiness evaluation, our entire career hung suspended on a single point in time, plus or minus 30 seconds. The point in time was the exact second we were to turn keys and launch the missiles, but to do so outside that +/- 30-second window meant that you failed; failure meant decertification from duty and losing the ability to do the job. I’m sure you can see how most missileers tend to develop an almost fetish-like relationship with time (you should see my watch collection!).

So after almost two months of silence on my part, I sat down on Saturday morning and vowed that I wouldn’t get up until I had finished a substantive letter catching my friend up on the events in my life. The sentiments I found myself writing, however, made me stop and reconsider my current use of my time, and also to reevaluate the current state of my life.

What I wrote was:
From your past couple of notes, it seems as if we have both adopted self-flagellation as a lifestyle. Me, for allowing myself to become so busy with ‘helping people’ that I neglect to nurture the relationships that make the effort worthwhile. You as a punishment for not realizing that you and you alone are in control of your thoughts and actions, and for thinking {the behavior you’re trying to stop} controls you. Hopefully, we’ll both learn.

I realized that I had spent most of the past year allowing commitments to other people and projects to overwhelm my life, leaving little or no time for other pursuits I love, such as shooting sports, hiking and simply spending time with family and friends. As I wrote the above paragraph I realized that as well intended and compassionate as my actions were, they still were keeping me from investing my most precious resource into the activities and people who make the whole effort worthwhile.

Time is our most precious resource. It is finite and once gone, it can never be replaced or supplemented. You make the most of what you have in the ‘right now’ or you miss it and will never have that particular opportunity again. I try not to let popular culture influence too much of my perspective but I believe a quote from the movie The Matrix Reloaded sums up the problem quite well when The Merovingian says, “Who has time? Who has time? But then if we do not ever take time, how can we ever have time?

How indeed?!

How are you spending your time? Are you taking the time to intentionally water and weed the garden of your life or are you simply a spectator at the train-wreck? Because, after all,

The Choice is Always Yours.


By | 2018-09-07T06:26:01-04:00 September 7th, 2018|Counseling, Counseling/Therapy, Honesty, Principles, The Mervingian, Therapy|0 Comments

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