I have been thinking a lot about the passage of time lately. Time just moves right along, doesn’t it?
Recently, I was talking with a client who has had a lot going on in her life. Health, finances, family issues. As she was talking about a misunderstanding with her husband, and how frustrated she felt, I asked her a question:
“Twenty years from now, how important will this misunderstanding be?”
As I look back on the past, I think about how my perspective has changed over the years. So much of what seemed important at one time in my life isn’t all that important anymore. Various crises, at least they seemed like crises when they were occurring, were not much more than minor annoyances, now that I look back. Sure, like you, some of my crises were real ones. But a lot just felt that way.
When I look at the past, and where I put my energy, I have a mix of reactions. I feel kind of silly for some of my reactions that not seem like overreactions at the time. I feel sad for missed connections. Of course, I understand that I am looking at my past from the viewpoint of where I am now in life. But there are times when I ask myself: What was I thinking? Basically, what I wanted or thought I needed at the moment. But not much beyond that.
I think that my past has taught me what’s really important in my life. And being aware of what’s important has made it a whole lot easier to stay focused on the big picture, and to not let my emotions get the best of me, when one of my buttons is pushed. And as a result, to be able to act as my best self and to make better decisions.
To keep that focus, I’ve learned to ask myself the question that I asked my client. And now I’m going to ask you that same question: In 20 years, is this really going to be important?
When you ask yourself that question, here are some factors to consider:
Your physical health. The decisions we make now in regard to our health will follow us into the future. That’s no surprise to anyone living with a chronic condition. Take your health seriously by staying on top of your self-care and making decisions that promote your health.
Your emotional health. Ever notice people who seem to live with constant unhappiness or anger and toll all this negative takes on them? Start each day with an attitude of gratitude. Avoid negative, toxic people and situations. And don’t make mountains out of molehills. Again, twenty years from now…
Your spiritual health. Live according to your own values. Act with integrity. Connect with your spiritual side, however you define it. You’ll reap benefits that will have a positive emotional impact which, in turn, can affect your physical health. Remember: body, mind, spirit.
Your support system. We all need to have caring and loving people in our lives. So when you feel like you’re giving more than you’re getting, or you just know you’re right, what would it be like to just let it go? Hold your loved ones close as you travel the road ahead.
Your vision for the future. What do you want your future to look like? Holding onto that vision can guide you day to day, as you ask the question: Is this contributing to what I want my life to look like?
And your legacy. Think about how you want to be thought of, now, in the future, and after you have left the planet. The lessons and the memories you want to leave behind. Each moment, you have the opportunity to contribute to your legacy. How’s that going?
Twenty years from now… Choose to have a perspective that takes in the whole forest and not just the trees around you. Knowing what’s important and what isn’t so important is a key to happiness and well-being.