There is nothing that you are supposed to do. Only that which you want to do.
(Ester Hicks, from a deleted scene of The Secret)
Time is a powerful enabler of dreams and accomplishments.
One of my dreams is to live a healthy and vigorous life to the age of 103. This is no arbitrary goal. My 103rd birthday will be June 4, 2064 – 6/4/64! I just love the symmetry of it.
In Making Time for Life’s Wonders, I introduced the weekly routine I call Coffee, Classical, and Priority. That post focused on micro-time management – how I spend time measured in recent days and weeks.
Another part of my routine involves macro-time management – reflecting on the total time I have been alive, the time remaining ahead of me, and what I want to do with my life.
A story I once read inspired me to create a PENNY CEREMONY to reflect on and celebrate the passage of time in my life. I purchased $54 in pennies and two flowerpots. Each penny represents a week in my life. There are 5,374 weeks from the date of my birth (6/4/1961) to my 103rd birthday (6/4/2064). One flowerpot represents the weeks I have lived and the other the weeks that lie ahead of me.
I was amazed at the sheer volume of 54,000 pennies. It took me a long time to separate them into each pot. The process gave me a deep awareness of how long I have been alive and how much living there is still left to do. It brought a renewed recognition to the value of each day, each week, and each year of my life.
I end my weekly routine by moving one penny from my future life, representing the time remaining to pursue my dreams, and drop it into my past life, representing the time that has made me all I am at this moment. As I move the penny from one pot to the other, I reflect on the past with love and appreciation and look forward to the life ahead of me with optimism and excitement.
I track the passage of time in a spreadsheet I call PERSPECTIVE. It lists major events that have shaped my life, and the starting date of each event. For example, the first event listed is the day I was born. When I enter the current date at the top of the spreadsheet, it automatically calculates the exact number of days since the start of each event.
I remember calling my oldest daughter on the very day I had been her dad for 10,000 days. I celebrated the 2,000th day of being married to my one true love, and the 3,000th day of being a business owner. I even celebrated the exact middle of my life on December 4, 2012 – the day I had lived 18,811 days and had 18,810 days remaining before my 103rd birthday party.
The practice of viewing my life in this simple way brings into deep focus what is truly most important to me, it helps me determine my priorities, and gives me a greater sense of patience. It reminds me to relax immediate expectations and give life the time it needs to unfold as it will.
It helps make inevitable disappointments seems less relevant. For example, in 2011, my wife and I bought a distressed home and completely remodeled it. The entire process was full of missed deadlines, delays, compromised expectations, and unexpected costs. When we finally moved in, three months later than we hoped, our big screen TV didn’t fit in its custom shelving unit. Ugghh!!
Here’s the lesson for me. Within the greater context of my 19,000 days of life, a 90-day delay to move into our beautifully remodeled home or a three day delay to have our TV installed, just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.
The Penny Ceremony helps put the passage of time and the events of my life in perspective. It helps me celebrate the present moment, recognize the past has created me just as I am meant to be, and fills me with hope, wonder, and plenty of time for future dreams, experiences and accomplishments that still lie ahead.
Image via Unsplash