I, like everybody, have days in my life where I feel defeated, like I am never going to accomplish my dreams and goals. These are hard days. On these days I step back and remember my “Why”. Why am I on this journey? Why did I set out to accomplish my dreams? What are my goals – refocus on them and why they are important to me.
The most important thing I try to remember – no matter how bad it may seem – it’s just today. It’s not forever. There are times I feel like I’m running out of time because my life is speeding by, and I will never have time to accomplish my goals. I have to remind myself to relax – tomorrow I will wake up and a new day will be here. I will be given the opportunity to again find my drive and passion to forge ahead on my road. Life is a really really really long game. Everybody fails and has setbacks, but there is always time to recover and continue on.
Perception of time is a funny thing and something I have pondered quite a lot over the years. One perception that has fascinated me is the perception that time speeds up as we get older. When you were in grade school the summer seemed to last forever. Those 3 months were so long, when you went back to school it was hard to remember the year before. Once you hit high school it didn’t seem quite as long – like damn back to it already? When you get even older and have children (time accelerators in their own right) a summer is over in the blink of an eye. Hell a month goes by in a second and a year is nothing.
My theory on this perception is this: As you accumulate years in your life, a year becomes a smaller percentage of your life. When you are 5 a year is 1/5 of your life, but when you are 10 a year is only 1/10th of your life – you perceive it to be only half as long. 20 is half again and 40 is half again – so it goes your whole life. Your perception of time does actually speed up based on the fact you are measuring a year against an ever growing past period of time.
So this is why you become concerned, because your perception is telling you that you are accelerating to the end and will never have time to do what you want to do. The good news – this is just one perception of time.
When you feel anxious that you are running out of time consider this perception – you still have a long way to go because you don’t realize the length of the game. So if you, like me, are around 50 years old consider this: If you live to be 80 (very reasonable these days) you still have 30 years to go! – that is a long time.
Think back 30 years to when you were 20 years old. Think of all of the life you have lived, all of the things you have done – that is a lot of stuff. Since I was 20 I’ve gone to college, been married for 23 years, had 3 children, started and run a successful business etc. etc. It really is mind blowing to sit down and think of all the life you have lived and all the things you have experienced in the last 30 years!! Now imagine – you get to live that span of time again!! All of that life is still ahead of you.
So I guess my main point in all of this is be patient. It takes time to reach goals. Anybody who has ever been great at anything had to put in the work over time to achieve greatness. Michael Jordan could not make his high school basketball team, but over time he became the best basketball player the world had ever seen. Col Sanders didn’t make KFC until he was 62 years old. Sam Walton opened the first Walmart when he was 44 years old.
Of course nobody knows when the end is – I may not make 80 but I’m going to roll with the thought I will. So the next time you have a bad day and get hit with a serious setback just remember tomorrow is another day, another chance to forge ahead. And if you find yourself feeling the pressure that time is running out for you, just realize how much time you have left. I am almost 50 years old and I feel like I am just beginning and I definitely have time on my side.