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Are You Wasting Precious Time?

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that there are no guarantees. 

If we’re honest, our divorces taught us that too.

Even as you get your life back on track after these major derailments, you may find yourself falling back into letting the time fly by in “default” mode:

  • Reacting to what’s right in front of you rather than proactively creating what you really want
  • Sticking to your routines, even if you’re not particu­larly happy with them

Maybe you’re staying in a soul-sucking job. Or you’re spending your downtime binge-watching mediocre TV and falling down the internet rabbit hole. Or, you’re hanging out with people who bring you down instead of lifting you up.

And the days go by. . .

It’s Never Too Late to Wake Up

When it became clear that my 89-year-old grandmother had only days left to live, I had one of those life-altering epiphanies. The reality hit that I, too, have a set number of days. Far from depressing or alarming, this insight woke me up. It inspired me to stop treating a normal day with all the excitement of finding a penny on the side­walk.

The stakes are higher when you acknowledge the limit to your days on earth. If you let it, this awakening can bring a greater sense of fearless­ness and freedom. Who cares what other people think? So what if I fall flat on my face? What have I always wanted to do? What do I want to stop doing?

Ask yourself, am I “spending” my one precious life in a way that has meaning and brings me joy? Spend is the operative word here.

Time is the Ultimate Currency

Like our money, our time is ours to waste, spend or invest. And, like our money, we can purposefully invest our time to increase our ROJ (return on joy). Where you invest your time depends on what’s most important to you:

Invest in Happiness—You owe it to yourself to do more of what you love doing. Having adventures, doing things “just for fun,” and spending time with inspiring people directly affect your enjoyment of life. What do you love doing but don’t do often enough? What new things are you itching to try? How much of your time do you want to spend having fun?

Invest in Wellness—Investing in your mental, emotional and physical health pays life-long dividends. Exercising, eating a healthy diet, and taking time for quiet reflection and meditation are proven strategies to increase the length and quality of your life. So is self-care—proactively nurturing yourself with things that you enjoy and feel good such as massage, hot baths, a good book, walks in nature, or whatever fosters your sense of wellbeing. 

Invest in Divorce Recovery—Set your intention and do the work. Recover, learn about yourself and grow into the best version of yourself you can be. Your divorce knocked your life off its tracks. This is your big do-over. Use it as a catalyst to reinvent your life the way you always wanted it.

Invest in Relationships—We are wired for connection with other humans. In the end, your relationships with people are the most important factor in your wellbeing. Investing time in relationships strengthens and deepens them. Any type of contact counts but a call or visit with a friend is more impactful and satisfying than a Facebook interaction. And, don’t discount casual encounters with strangers—showing up as friendly and kind throughout your day-to-day activities can create nice micro connections that make your day. 

Invest in Giving Back—Whether you bring food to a sick friend or lend a hand to a good cause, giving back is beneficial—and not just for the recipients. Volunteering strengthens communities, brings people together, and provides valuable experience and insight. A Gallup survey found that most volunteers do it because they like the feeling of helping others. Time helping others illuminates your own life. 

Invest in Your Dreams—If your life was exactly the way you wanted it, what would it look like? It’s worth thinking about what you want for yourself and then making a proactive plan to get it. Whether it’s planning a dream vacation, learning to paint, starting your own business or writing a book, you can do it. You just need to make a plan and start.

When you wake up, say to yourself, “This is one of my precious days!” Your life deserves your attention.

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