The Day I Realised I was Running Out of Time
How a simple mind-shift drastically changed my life.
There’s this semi-weird thing I do where each year, I calculate the odds of me living my life all over again.
I’m dead serious and no, I’m not talking about reincarnation.
It works like this: I am 35 years old now, so I ask myself, could I live my age over on top of the years I’ve already lived? Another 35 years would make me 70.
So yes, theoretically I have literally my whole (lived) lifetime ahead of me.
The good old days
This formula worked out brilliantly when I was younger. At the age of seven, I worked out that if I were to start again and live seven years over the ones I have already lived, I would only be 14. Perfect timing for high school and boys.
By 16 I figured, heck, I could begin from day one, and I’d only be 32. That’s still young enough to make something out of my life, and look good while I’m at it.
When I reached 25, I reasoned that since 50 is the new 40, I have plenty of time to start over.
You see, in this way, I told myself that no matter what, I could wipe the slate clean and start all over again. No matter how many times I messed up, there were many more years ahead to create a better life.
When I imagined the type of person I was at seven years old compared to 35, well then, that leaves decades in which I could right any wrongs and do this thing called “life” right this time.
Time is relative
But something about my formula started giving me an uncomfortable feeling.
I’m 35 now, so to start over again would make me 70. By 40 we’re talking 80 and by 50, well….
I think I’m running out of time.
I’ve been fooled by my formula. The math lulled me into thinking that a brand new life was as easy as living my age all over again. Plenty of time to travel, learn Italian and maybe even start a business.
But by the time I’m 70, who knows if I’ll still want those things or be physically able to accomplish them?
Rug? What rug?
To say the rug was pulled out from under me is putting it mildly.
The moment I realised that I had been living in a delusion of my own creating was like waking up after a night of straight vodka on an empty stomach.
I felt sick.
My thoughts swam as I tried to make sense of the “What now?” question pounding relentlessly in my head. I gasped for breath and drank water like a cactus in the desert. I’m fairly certain I was having a full-blown panic attack.
Once I had calmed down enough for the room to stop spinning I did what I always do. I grabbed my journal.
No matter how minor or extravagant, and like a madman possessed, I listed out every one of the things I had put off for so long. I scribbled until the page was full and my fingers were cramping.
Then I got real with my list and asked myself: “Do I still want this? How will I feel if I actually achieved/got this?”
A new me, well, sort of.
Instead of wallowing in the reality that most of my goals hadn’t even had the top surfaces scratched, I decided that my new life started NOW.
I started making plans to stop living on planet unicorn and start actually living. Fully.
I’d love to say that since that epic turning point, I’ve travelled the world, learned Italian, swum with dolphins, and bought a new car.
It doesn’t quite work like that.
What has happened is that I’ve started walking a path entirely of my own creating. I’ve furthered my studies, made new friends, started a business and am open to new opportunities and experiences.
I have a heightened awareness of the impact of small decisions on the overall trajectory of my life.
Realising that “the time is passing anyway” can be hard to accept, but it’s what we do every moment from then onwards that counts.
I no longer perform my silly calculation to convince myself that I have enough time to create a life I love.
I choose to live with clarity and direction, and my goal is to help inspire others to do the same.
PS: I am learning Italian after all, in case you were wondering. So arrivederci and here’s to celebrating life each and every day.