What if your life had an expiry date?
Recently, we went to the cemetery to remember family members who have passed away. This is something we do periodically during the year. And that got me thinking. What would it mean if our lives had an expiry date, like a bag of milk? More specifically, what if you knew you only had one year to live?
What choices would you make about how you spend your time?
Where would you put your attention?
What one thing would you accomplish?
Who would you choose to spend time with?
What risks would you take?
What challenges would you embrace?
What would you say no to, so as to find the time to do what you want to do?
What legacy would you want to leave behind?
Over the past five months, these questions have become more relevant to me and I am finding that I am shifting the way I am living my life. I feel a sense of urgency about not wanting to live in the status quo and go through the motions of life, predictably, day after day. And there is something incredibly empowering about taking control of my life. My first change was to stop watching “The Young and the Restless”. This was my guilty pleasure and I started to watch the show last year. I knew I had a problem when I started to PVR the show. My son razzed me about this everyday. So I gave up watching the show last month. This saves me 5 hours a week – what a sheer gift of time! I now use this time to explore the ravine behind our home, read on my deck and try new things of interest to me. I have streamlined my emails so they no longer take over my life. I have learnt to be brutal with time but gracious with people.
I have learnt that there are only a few things that are important to me in my life. Family and close friends, having the opportunity to serve meaningfully, being part of a strong community, having a very clear sense of purpose and work that brings meaning to life, making a difference in the world so that my life matters. Everything else is just noise. And I am realizing that perhaps in the past I spent more time on the noise, in the hustle and bustle of life, making a living, not really consciously thinking about what really matters. It’s so easy to get trapped in the day to day of life.
So I am using this time to re-evaluate my life to gain clarity on what constitutes a fulfilling life for me. One tool that helps me take stock of my life is the Wheel of Life, which I complete twice a year..
The Wheel of Life is an assessment tool that helps you assess, at any one point in time, your level of satisfaction with various parts of your life. Using this tool, you can evaluate the areas of your life that are working well and aspects you need to focus on in order to achieve a more balanced life.
Below is a link to a blank Assessment Wheel, as well as a sample Wheel which you can use to complete your own personal “Wheel of Life”.
Life is not just about living, or even making a living. It is about creating your destiny and living your best life. Life is a brilliant gift and we can choose consciously how we live it!