Beginning with Monday’s birthday post, I’ve been listing three important things I’ve learned over the years. The first was that it’s better to spend money on experiences rather than material things (unless those things contribute to the experience, of course). The second was that income can be replaced, but time cannot.
Here’s the final thing I’ve learned:
3. Life is too short to spend it ___________ (fill in the blank).
I suppose this is related to #2, because life is too short to spend all
of it working. After all, why do you work? Isn’t it so you can have
enough money to do other things you want to do? But it applies in a lot of places, and I’ve been known to fill in the blank with a lot of different scenarios.
Life is too short to spend it comparing myself to others.
There will always be better writers, better speakers, more successful
writers, more popular bloggers, people with more twitter followers, etc.
But I’m not them. I’m me. If I spend my time obsessed about how I don’t
measure up, I’ll forget to enjoy the things in my life of which others
might be envious. Like my spectacular dance moves.
Life is too short to spend it worrying about things you can’t change.
Sometimes bad things happen. The car breaks down. You get sick. You
mess up your knee by passing out in the shower right before the
half-marathon you’d been training for (to use a completely random
example). You can direct all your mental energy toward being frustrated
about your negative situation, or you can look past it, try to fix it,
and make plans for the next challenging scenario. You can dwell in the
past or try to make the best of the present.
Life is too short to spend it reading a book I’m not enjoying.
Oooh. It took me a long time to get to this point. I used to have to
finish a book I had started, even if I hated it. (I’m looking at you, Steppenwolf.) But now? If it hasn’t grabbed me in the first 100 pages, I have no problem abandoning it.
Life is too short to spend all of it at church.
For shame! But true. My wife and I both grew up attending every event
and activity available at our church. We’re both exceedingly grateful
for our upbringing, but with our own kids we just don’t see the
necessity of doing everything. Honestly? We’d rather stay home and play
Settlers of Catan or Monopoly. We try to be deliberate with our time
and, rather than attending out of obligation, we get involved with the
things that give us 1) the most family-wide benefit, or 2) the most
opportunity to serve or get involved as befits our skills or talents.
Life is too short to spend it focused only on yourself and your own comfort.
This is a necessary balance to pretty much everything else I’ve listed
above, because many of these things benefit me and my family. A healthy
family life means looking outward as well as inward, so it’s important
to get involved in other things — financial donations, opportunities to
serve, helping friends — just to combat basic self-absorption.
Life is too short to spend too much time blogging, or on twitter. Still working on this one.
The point? Life is short. Time is precious. Be careful how you spend it.
There are lots more “Life is too short…” statements we could make. If you’d like, submit your own in the comments.