We all know that time seems to move faster and faster as we age. The older we get, the more the days and weeks literally seem to rocket by. The biggest marker of this for me is how fast the seasons change. When I was in school, I recall feeling that school holidays like spring break or Christmas break were quite lengthy. Today, 3 summer months feels more like 3 weeks with the leaves beginning to change in fall before I’ve even properly settled into the summer. Then the holidays hit and then the winter. Then another year gone. What does all this suggest? Quite simply, the faster times moves, the more important it is to appreciate each day, period and phase of life. Since my realization, I’ve made a bigger effort to get up early and utilize the day, maximizing activities and experiences. When it’s sunny and warm, I contemplate the best way to take advantage of fine weather, not taking it for granted. And, during the day, I take a moment to acknowledge whatever is happening — new experiences, events and opportunities. And, I’ve realized, the key is to start doing as young as possible. Don’t wait too long… you’ll regret it.
In my 20s and 30s, while I sometimes felt time moving more quickly, I never really paid much attention to it. The years seemed endless. Life seemed easy, abundant and fun. I was really young with plenty of youthful exuberance. However, with age comes the unfortunate recognition of changes that become increasingly alarming. For example, not long after my 40th birthday, I started to notice more pronounced wrinkles around my eyes and on my forehead, along with an extra layer of insulation (fat) around the mid-section. Was I becoming like my father? Where did all this come from? I never had any of this before and not long ago I was a worry-free kid. I guess these are the unfortunate physical manifestations of aging. And, the more I recognized the aging the process, the more I am reminded of how finite things are. When you become acutely aware of life being finite, you make changes. I’m no longer complacent or nonchalant. And it’s smarter to recognize this earlier.
If you’re interested in being proactive at a younger age, try the following:
- Notice and appreciate as much as possible (‘smelling the roses’, as they say). Seriously look around and observe. You’ll be amazed at the detail and texture around you.
- Engage in activities, do more and avoid ‘sitting on the bench’. Take life ‘by the horns’.
- Focus on creating memories, especially with friends and family
- Watch less TV, read more, travel more
- Define what’s really important in your life and focus on it (in my case, it’s traveling with my wife creating memories, having children and then providing my family with the richest possible experiences as well)
If I had this realization in my 20s and 30s, I would have done a lot more during those decades. Twenty years is a big percentage of my life, years I’ll never get back. Don’t waste a moment of your lives. Start now and make is sooner.