I am a mom to three young kids : eight, three and a four month old.
I run a business and a household. I have the same 24 hours in a day as the successful trader, the school dropout and you. Yet, it never feels enough. You always feel like you need more time, more effort…. more, more, more.
And slowly, I have come to a number of critical realisations about time, life, emotion, people, work and passion.
1. There’s never enough time. The more you crave it, the less you get. The more you resist it, the more there is that ends up on your plate. How strange that we get so little time in the prime of our life, when you’d think you’d be best to really live it and yet you need to work to earn a living and you develop relationships and a family which also absorb a great chunk of your time. And then you retire. All the time craved is suddenly there at your disposal. To do as you please. And yet, there are many who are unable to live their lives to the fullest of their expectations and their desires at that point of their lives.
Tip : It’s never about enough time. It’s about making sure you spend time on the right things because you can’t be everything to everyone or do everything you want to do. Choose.
2. When you work, have a family and also try to carve some ‘me time’ – whether it is to explore personal interests, strengthen your friendships or just have a work out – you soon realise that time passes quickly. You always have a set of choices to make between one and the other because you cannot do it all. It is a balancing act and there’s no permanence.
Tip : Everything is in a state of flux and sometimes, truth be told, the balance is off. But it’s almost a game – you fall off the horse and the trick is to get right back on as quickly as you can or you lose your nerve.
3. No matter what they tell you about embracing rational thought, taking a logical stand, or even turning it into a gender issue, we are all emotional creatures whether we care to acknowledge it or not. I don’t know about you but raising children, managing an infant and holding down a job can sometimes bring out more of the emotional in you than you’d care to acknowledge. And what I find is this : if you spend enough time angry, depressed, upset, feel let down or just generally in a state of discontent, there’s no space left for happy or bliss.
Tip : Although it seems easy enough theoretically to move between happy and sad, it’s not so easy in real life. Emotions suck the energy out of you – at least negative ones do. And if you allow yourself (because that’s what it boils down to – allowing yourself to get into that state) to get stuck in that downward spiral, the truth is that there’s no space left to get up from there, to get happy, to get content, to get grateful.
4. There’s that saying about how on your deathbed no one wishes they did more work but instead wished they spent more time with their loved ones. No one, despite the best of intentions, can really live life as if they knew they were going to die the next day. It’s just not workable. But if you could keep that front and centre, at least for most of the journey, it would make a difference.
Tip : We all want to be better than we really are, don’t we? But it’s always about what we do, in the end, to make that a reality. What are we really doing to make sure we can make our intent as real as possible?
5. Work on mindfulness.
Tip : It’s hard work, I will tell you right now. But if it’s important to you, you will find a way.
6. Be happy for the little victories. These are the ones perhaps that only you can see, the ones you feel are critical in your journey. It’s not all pomp and grandeur, noise and merriment.
Tip : Be grateful for every inch you have worked hard at and made progress on. It will hold you as you move forward.
6. Relax. Let go. Start again. Sometimes, you fail. Sometimes it is epic. Get over it. Move on. Pause and then play.
Tip : You can’t beat yourself up forever. You have to give yourself some room to move, relax and breathe. So start again. Don’t rewind too much – rehashing the past won’t do too much good. Pause, regroup, realign and then move again. It will get better.