We all do things to extend our life expectancy. We exercise. We eat “super foods” and watch our weight. We take vitamins. All told, we give a lot of effort to increase the number of our days on this earth. However, sometimes we forget to focus on the quality of those days.
At the end of our lives, we all want to look back and think that our time on this earth was not just long, but worthwhile. Of course, each of us has a very different idea of what a “worthwhile” life would be. Most people want to leave the earth better than they found it. Some may not aspire to change the whole world, but simply want to leave their patch of grass a little bit nicer. Others actually want to make a global impact. They want to invent something that changes people’s lives. Or they want to spread ideas that make the world a kinder and gentler place. Then there are those who want to just enjoy every minute. They want to travel the globe, and experience all that the world has to offer in terms of adventure.
The question is this: If life is a gift of a finite amount of time on this earth, then what do you want to do with your gift? How do you want to use the time that has been given to you? The interesting thing about this gift is that we don’t know how big or small it is. So the gift has an imperative attached to it. That imperative is that we’d better start making our days count because none of us knows which day will be our last.
How do we do that? One way is to create a life agenda. Now a life agenda isn’t a bucket list. Your agenda doesn’t include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef. Those are fun experiences, but they aren’t meaningful in and of themselves. A life agenda should contain those things that you would want said in your eulogy. If you could attend your own funeral, what would you want people to say about you? How would you want your friends and family to remember you? Those things should be part of your life agenda.
In my experience, life agendas aren’t something that we create in our twenties. Most kids in their twenties think they are invincible. They want to conquer the world and make a ton of money. They typically aren’t thinking about their own demise, or how they wish to be remembered. This is an exercise for those of us who are closing in on (or who have past) the halfway mark in life. We now are focused on what our legacy will be and hope it will be a positive one.
Now there can be many parts to a life agenda. For instance, I am a mother. So part of my agenda is to raise my daughter to be a kind, decent, mature and responsible individual. I also want her to feel that she had a mother who loved and valued her. Another part of my agenda is to be a good wife. I want my husband to have been a happier person because he chose to marry me. I want him to know that he had a wife who both loved and admired him. But then I have larger goals. I want to spread ideas that inspire people to be more decent to one another. I want people to read what I write and believe that they aren’t here by accident, but that God has a special purpose for them that they need to work toward. My life agenda is unique, and yours will be too.
Once we have an agenda and know what we want to accomplish in life, then deciding how we spend our time on earth becomes a whole lot easier. Our days should reflect our life agenda. Now of course, we all have to spend time on the mundane aspects of life – work or housework, paying bills, meeting the needs of others, etc. However, making every day count means incorporating our agenda into our everyday life in some fashion.
There is something very satisfying about doing something each day toward one’s life legacy. It makes life seem more meaningful and not just another day of laundry. When we think about what we ultimately want to accomplish, then our everyday activities either support those goals or they don’t. Consider thinking about your life agenda today and how you can make each day count.