A few days ago, a “more experienced” colleague and I were discussing our plans for the rest of the summer. When he began to tell me what his plans were, he casually mentioned something that has really stuck with me. He said, “I don’t have too many summers left, so…”
We both laughed good-naturedly at the time, but even after the conversation ended, I couldn't get that little thought out of my head. I mean, really, I began to wonder, how many more summers do I have left? I’m turning 40 this year. It’s a big year. Considering the average male’s life expectancy in the US is 78.74 years, that means I have about 38-40 summers left, statistically speaking.
The thought was a little unsettling. But there are two ways to look at the fleeting nature of time. Sure, I could say that I'm halfway through all the summers I'll ever have. But this also means that I have half a lifetime of summers yet to experience, and I need to make the most of them.
Do I want to spend another summer missing holidays with the family and working weekends? Or do I want to make each one count by traveling and spending time with my family? How many summers will I have before my kids are all grown up and off into the world?
I did a little more thinking, and determined that there are a few major ways to make the most of the time I have. And of course, I decided to jot it down and share it with the world. I'd love to know if you feel the same.
I Have to Be Very Intentional with My Time
If there's something I've been longing to do, and it makes sense in the context of my current life and family, then I should make time for it. If doing something doesn't add value to my life in some way, I shouldn’t waste any more of my most precious resource on it.
I Need to Prioritize and Set Definitive Goals
I realize that if I'm going to be more intentional with my time, I need to prioritize things that will help me achieve the goals that I set. So I'm going to write down definitive goals for my family life and my career. It's easier to know what path I should take where I know where I want to go.
For example, I want to take 4 family trips a year. I want to coach sports and be there at my kids' games in the future. I want to spend holidays at home and not in the hospital. I want to work because I'm passionate and love what I'm doing, not because I feel bound to it – that will likely mean working about 60% of full time.
I Need to Take Better Care of My Health
In order to see more summers, I need to focus on this…now. Working long overnight shifts can’t be good for the body. I’ve got to eat better, I’ve got to exercise more, and find more ways to de-stress. Maybe I need to meditate more (like The Happy Philosopher).
I Should Work Less… Now
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been slowly reducing my at-work time in order to achieve the right work-life balance. I’ve already dropped my clinical time 10-15% from last year and thought I was going at a good pace, but I'm now determined that I need to accelerate my partial retirement.
I Need to Make the Most of the Rest of THIS Summer
I thought of the things I wanted to do this summer and decided I’m going to make that a priority and make it happen, even if I do have to give up some work and income. After all, at the end of the summer, will I be happier with a little more cash, or because I made memories that will last a lifetime?
Tomorrow Isn't Guaranteed
The bottom line is that none of us have a lot of time. It’s a cliché, but tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. There has to be a good country song about this out there.
So make time for things you’ve dreamed of, live a little more in the moment, and don't get so caught up in making money for your future that you miss what's happening now. There’s a balance somewhere there, and if you don’t take the time to analyze where you’re at, you might be way off.
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