Raise your hand if this has happened to you: You wanted to do something (check out that cool exhibit, see that Oscar-nominated movie all your friends said was incredible, take a day trip to see the poppy fields in full bloom) and then you blinked and the exhibit had closed, the movie was out of theaters or the poppies were no longer in season. You wanted to do something, but you just kept putting it off. What gives?
I had an experience this passed week that was a unexpected reminder of how fast time is moving.
My car was nearing the end of its lease and it was time for me to figure out my new "ride". (Do the kids still say that?) The process is not what I personally would call fun, mainly because I'm up against the clock, it leaks time I would rather devote to literally anything else, and the experience has the added "joy" of trying to figure out if someone is lying to you about the "deal" they're promising you.
But, thankfully, it all worked out. When it came time for me to exchange cars with the dealer I noticed a few things that made me laugh and gave me pause: As the salesman stuck my temporary tag to the windshield of my new car, I realized I still had my temp tag on my old car!!! I had looked at it every. single. day. for 3 years (or in car terms 36 months). I definitely thought about taking it off, but I just figured I would do it tomorrow. And then I woke up, and 3 years had gone by!
It was the same with my car radio. It still had the preset stations from when I drove off the lot back in 2015! I figured I'd bust out the manual and set them myself, but I just "never got around to it" . It didn't feel like that much time had gone by, and that was the scariest part.
I laughed as I mentioned the radio and the temporary tag to the salesman. As I signed my new lease, I thought ahead (and out loud) about all that could happen in life on a macro and micro level between now and the end of this next lease. "Wow, 2021. We could have a new President by then!" He was definitely in a reflective mood or interested in joining me on my emotional journey.
As he drove off, I took a moment to think back on the journey that car had afforded me in the last three years: my first dance squad rehearsal (that's right I was on a dance squad!), job interviews, hikes, road trips. And I thought about those extra miles on left my lease that I never used either because of the experiences I "never got around" to do.
AND NOW FOR YOUR PEP TALK:
After you reach certain major "mile markers" or milestones in life, and once your year is no longer segmented into Summer Break and Back to School, time starts to blend together. (This can be especially true if you're like me and live in a warm climate with no clear seasons). Which means it's up to you to make sure we're not letting the days slip by. The results sometimes aren't as minor as, "I didn't get to see that museum exhibit." They can be painful either financially, "The late fee on this parking ticket is HOW MUCH?!?!" or emotionally like thinking you had more time left with a beloved grandparent than you actually did. You always have to keep in the back of your mind: Time is the only thing I cannot make more of.
I don't want you to beat yourself up about the days you've let slip by. You're human. We've all gotten caught up in the minutia of the day. Instead I want you to feel empowered by this consciousness of time's speed. Right now, make a list of three things you've been meaning to do. Be sure to include in there at least one thing you actually would LOVE to do (take a pottery class, get coffee with your BFF who just moved across town) as well as the life necessities like get your oil changed. And then I want you to add a fourth thing, that's one thing you can do right now, immediately after reading this article. Doing the immediate thing will build the momentum to put forth the steps towards the rest of your list, and the awesome feeling you get when you finally do those things will be a reminder the next time that little voice tells you to just put it off until tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or next quarter.
And if you're still struggling, I invite you to join me this Sunday, March 11 for my Snap Out Of It workshop in Los Angeles. Hope to see you there!