The belief that time is limited seems to be universally accepted. Why is this?
Time is eternal. Only our life on this earth is limited, and we don’t know when it will end. Time is both infinite and non-existent.
What it is not, is in our control.
We don’t know how much time we have left here. We are not guaranteed 24 hours in a day. We are not guaranteed anything beyond this moment.
Right here. Right now. It’s just this.
So what does that mean for how we live our lives? Should we live each day like it’s our last day?
If you really knew that today would be your last day, you would likely scrap most of what you planned to do. When you reach that moment when it appears, for real, like your life will end, everything else falls away.
The bucket list.
The things you would like to do “some day.”
As I laid in bed in the middle of the night with a bleeding head, wondering if I would wake up, the thoughts of all I wanted to do left my mind. None of it mattered. I did not wish that I had written more or published more. I did not lament that I didn’t have more followers or readers or likes or comments. I did not regret not being more “productive” with my time. All of it fell away.
All that remained was what I felt in my heart:
Do the people I love most know how much I love them? Did I make a difference in some small way to at least one other person in this world?
I knew the answers to both questions was YES.
And in that moment, as Iay in the spinning room, unable to reach the phone, I was able to release myself from the need to call 911. I was ok with whatever happened. I thought there was a chance I might not wake up, and I was ok with that. I knew my life had meaning.
In that, I found something both refreshing and disturbing. Refreshing, because I now know that love and contribution are my most important needs. And I know that in the big picture I am meeting these needs, even if it doesn’t always feel that way in the moment.
Disturbing, because if I was comfortable with the thought that I might die, then does that mean I have nothing to live for? In that lonely night, I felt no burning desire to do that “one big thing” before I die. And so now I wonder, what’s my purpose in living? What happens now?
Of course I know I have more to say and things I still want to do. That will never end. The process of growing means there is always more.
Grow or die. If we are growing, there will always be a gap between where we are and where we want to be — and between who we are and who we want to be.
I didn’t think about my legacy. Who am I to say what my legacy will be? Perhaps I didn’t write everything I wanted to say or do everything I wanted to do, but I know I did enough to make a difference in the lives of some people. I don’t need a tribe of millions. The desire to “change the world” is driven by ego. To affect just one life is to make a meaningful difference.
He who saves one person is considered as though he saved the world.
In that moment, I realized that to live with the pursuit that I will “die empty” is perhaps not the path to live a life of meaning.
Yes, I want to share my best work with the world. But who decides what my “best work” is? My best work may not be determined until long after I’m gone. It may be some small thing I shared in a conversation with a random stranger.
Our contributions to this world can only be truly measured with the perspective of time, and time is eternal.
As I lay there in the middle of the night, it occurred to me that perhaps the path to a life of meaning, to a life of fulfillment and happiness, is to “live full.”
Full of love.
Full of gratitude.
Full of joy.
Full of happiness.
Full of dreams.
Full of desire to grow.
Full of desire to serve.
Perhaps the goal should be to know that, whenever my time here ends, I have left in this world people who have been touched by my words and my heart.
Unleashing my best work is important. But I want to die full: full of love and gratitude for the life I was given, for the people who touched my heart, and for the opportunities I had to touch the lives and hearts of others.