Thursday, March 17, 2016

Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda

There is a commodity that you are given every day that is more precious than money, your time. Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Warren Buffett, and Cam Newton, just like you, has 24 hours in a day. No more. No less. What we choose to do with that time, moment by moment, day by day, year by year, ultimately turns into the life we have lived—or wasted.

Just like your check register and your credit card statement, how you choose to spend your time tells me who you are. What kind of life do you want to live? What is important to you? Who do you want to be the moment you step off into eternity? Keep a record of how you spent your time for a day or two. Go ahead, write it down. Categorize it. How much of what you are doing is driven by who you are or who you want to become? How much could you have done that you didn’t do? What would you have done, if only? At the end of the day, do you have any regrets? What should you have done?

Consider: This morning I woke up at 5:30. I didn’t get to sleep until nearly midnight. This is an unusual occurrence in retirement. Normally, I get about nine hours of sleep. Last night I attended a meeting of the church’s writers group, a place where I am learning how to improve what I write from people who are really good. Some of them are published authors. This year I signed on to participate in a men’s Bible study that takes place on Thursday mornings at 7:00 AM. Usually this is not a problem because I get up at 5:30. This morning I really didn’t want to go, but I did. Something inside of me was telling my recalcitrant body that I had made a commitment and that barring illness or some serious problem, I belonged in that Bible study. After 47 years of “showing up” at school or work, the old fire horse answered the alarm bell one more time.

After the Bible study ended, I could have done the grocery shopping that needed to be done. I would have done it under normal circumstances, but I was tired so I blew off this chore. Of course, I thought I should have done it when I was scrounging around for something to eat in our depleted pantry a few hours later.

By the time I returned to the house, I was ready to eat some breakfast. I could have cooked up some eggs and grits. I would have done that, but I didn’t want to expend the time and effort necessary before going for my morning walk. I remembered I had a two for one coupon for smoked sausage breakfast biscuits. Yum—smoked sausage breakfast biscuits. I could have stopped after I ate one, but I didn’t. I ate them both. Junk food, like showing up is a part of who I am. After a lifetime of gobbling down fast food treats—does that make me a big pile of junk food? Hmmm. Not a pleasant thought.

Even though I was dragging, I walked my 5.25 miles. Somehow over the last three plus years, walking has become a part of who I am. It is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline. Five or six days a week, rain or shine, I am out there hoofing it up and down the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Even when my legs and knees are telling me to cool it for a day, at this point in my life when I don’t walk I feel like something is missing.

Go ahead. If you dare, take a look at your day. What is going on in your mind and your body? How is this inner dialogue affecting what you do? Moment after moment, day after day, year after year, how have you have lived your life or how have you wasted it?

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