While You Wait for Your Time
Let’s just say it: We’re all going to die. Nothing is more certain than that fact. We’re allotted a certain amount of heartbeats and only so much air to breathe before we’re done and our bodies once again become a part of the dirt we’re standing on. Every birth leads to an eventual death.
That’s alright. It’s normal. And that looming “dead-line,” as it were, can be inspiring and motivating. With only a limited number of minutes, what are we going to do with them?
First, let’s consider the cliche response:
Men never lie on their deathbeds and wish they could have spent more time in the office. They always long to go back and spend more time with the wife and kids.
Stephen & Alex Kendrick, The Resolution for Men
Almost everyone agrees that there is truth to that statement. When our perspective isn’t skewed by the pressures and stresses of living, we realize that our family is more important to us than our job.
That’s kind of shallow, though. I think if we took the time to explore that realization a bit deeper, we’d discover a bigger truth hidden underneath that cliche.
So, why is time spent with our family more valuable that the time we spend at our work? What makes it more important? Here are two of my reasons:
- We can be the most authentic.
Our best opportunity to be real is with our family. We can be vulnerable. Share our dreams, our hopes, and our fears. When we’re at work we tend to manage our appearance, because we believe that it’s in our own best interest to do so, but our family gets to see us at our best and worst. The thought of that might frighten us, but we long for that freedom, too.
- We get the most return.
I’ve had the advantage of working in a place ten years after my father had retired from there. It has been educational to see how quickly the memory of an employee fades from a place of work. He’s not completely gone, but he is mostly gone from that place.
I’m not trying to disrespect my father, here. He’s a wonderful man who is loved by his wife, his children and his grandchildren. His family. We will be with him until his last breath, and he will live on in our memories long after he has gone. Just as mementos of my grandfathers hang on my wall and are shared with my children, I will surely share memories of my father with my grandchildren. The lessons he taught me (for good and for bad) will be passed down for generations to come.
The time he put in at work was fleeting, and will vanish in a generation. The time he invested with his family will reap dividends for generations to come.
Now, if you don’t think I’m crazy, and you even agree with me a little, then what does that mean for the bigger picture? The cliche has value, but is it enough?
No. Our family is important, but there is more to life than only them. Every area of our life needs to be more authentic to who we are. Every thing we do should have a great return. Maybe the reason why men lie there in their last moments not wishing for another hour at their work is that work was a job they did rather than being a thing they are.
The biggest regret of people approaching death is – “I wished I’d had the courage to live a life authentic to myself, rather than living out the expectations of others.” If you learn that principle now it will serve you and the world well.
Death is coming. It’s normal. We should be motivated and inspired by it, living in such a way that reaps a greater reward and allows us to be real. No matter what the next moment brings.
Can time spent at your work ever be as important as time spent with your family? What are you doing right now that you will regret 10 years from now? Am I really just crazy?
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