Compliments of Tolka Rover via Flickr

Sixty five years – don’t they go by in a blink. Meet Joe Black

Our time on earth is limited – but you’d never guess that by the way some people live. Although advancements in gene therapy and cryogenics attempt to lengthen our lifespan, there’s no denying that our most precious resource is in short supply. This fact was brought to my attention by the death of a dear friend, and the demise of a beloved colleague. After the twin towers collapsed, an onlooker commented, “I’m not going to do anything I don’t want to do.”

Randy Pausch, in his book “The Last Lecture,” states that our time must be proactively managed. His exhortation (and the vantage point from which he made it), make organizing all the more imperative. Many have conquered the purging/sorting/rearranging of their physical things. Some have progressed to “life organizing,” or the process of replacing activities with ones that ignite their passion.

Fear of the unknown is sometimes a factor, but not one that should determine our fate. As we move forward, we’re confronted with the following questions – why do we persist in a course of action when it’s contrary to our heart’s desires? Why do we spend so much time mired in pursuits that no longer serve our purpose? It’s amazing the degree to which our vision clears when we purge the unneeded. It’s as if ideas hidden in our minds’ recesses have a chance to move to the forefront. When the thicket of myriad activity is removed, you may find more time to experience the replenishing emotions of gratitude, love, peace, and serenity, normally locked in our brains’ storage bins when we’re too busy.

In The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have, Nepo (a cancer survivor) reminds us that what we have is a result of where we focus. It doesn’t therefore matter how many followers you have on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn – what does matter is the people you can call your true friends. Have you recently spent time cultivating them?

Pausch offers us some profound life lessons, such as the importance of people (as opposed to things), how to fulfill our own dreams by enabling those of others, loving as a way of life, and the priority of spending time with family –all through the lenses of a person with only a few months to live.

Previous obligations in which our heart is not present act like heavy weights, preventing us from rising higher. It’s amazing how much clearer our thought process becomes when we relinquish what we no longer want, and how this freedom buoys us into desired endeavors. You’ve probably heard of the book “What color is your parachute?” Currently, what shade is your life? If everything is covered in a shroud of dull grey, it’s time for some serious changes. There’s no disputing that our days are numbered. The joy of knowing what we don’t want (and taking subsequent action) is necessary to lead our envisioned best life.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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