When I heard someone ask that question my first thought was “What a tool.”
But I sat there for a minute and it hit me like a ton of bricks: that question is a great way to bring focus into my life.
What do I want to do with the time I have left?
I put some dedicated thought to the question and came up with a list of things I’d like to accomplish before I expire.
List in hand, I considered each one, and asked myself another question:
“If I didn’t do this today, and died overnight, would I care (if I could)?”
One by one, items dropped off the list until only one remained.
Spend time with my kids.
As annoying as they think I am, I totally enjoy spending time with them.
The youngest affectionately referred to as The Girl Child, is the one most offended by my presence. Whatever. I’m there anyway. Smiling, laughing, and telling her jokes.
The older two, both boys, seem relatively indifferent in my presence. They don’t roll their eyes when I walk into the room and will talk to me without me having to prompt them.
All three, good kids, as normal as anyone could hope for, each growing into independent people with their own thoughts, desires, and goals.
At this point, I’m just there.
Offering advice when asked, funding adventures, and laughing when I catch them during a midnight feeding. Yes, the lockdown and virtual schooling has impacted our routine, as I’m sure it has impacted yours.
There is nothing more important to me at this point in my life.
But what do I want to do with the time I have left? And it’s not necessarily my death I’m concerned with, it’s the time I have left with them.
Within a few short years, they will be off doing their own thing: college, travel, relationships, jobs.
Simply enough, I want to be as positive an influence as possible with the time I have left with them.
I encourage them to read widely, learn to earn a living outside the confines of corporate life, think independently, and challenge authority.
How easy do you think it is to live with kids that you’ve taught to question everything and challenge authority? Good grief.
So, what do you want to do with the time you have left?
It’s a sobering thought. One that helps you strip away the shit from your life that is inconsequential or that you finally realize you don’t care anything about.
I work to pay for things that I like to do. It’s how I fund my life.
Would I like to be “making money while I sleep” as promised by the hundreds of thousands of hucksters trolling the web selling their rehashed make money online bullshit?
You bet. But it takes time and is difficult, and in the end is just a job, no matter what anyone tries to tell you.
So I work. I put in the hours, and I make a fantastic living.
But am I my work? No. God no. I work to finance my life.
Think about this: do your job, make your money, and use it to pay for what you really want to do.
Take some time to figure it out.
Think about what makes you happy, what makes others happy, and what will matter long after you’re gone.