When you are 80 years old, what will matter most to you when you reflect upon your life? Our time on this planet is limited, and each second that goes by is a countdown to the end. This is not meant to be a depressing pessimistic thought. In fact, it’s just the opposite! We need do wake up to the illusion that we have all the time in the world, and that we can just delay our happiness until a later date. The future does not exist, but right now does. What really matters right now?
A few days ago, I had the pleasure of sitting next to an elderly couple on a 3 hour plane ride. The couple was obviously very much in love with each other, and they eagerly spoke about the last 60 years of their lives together. They had four children, 6 grandchildren, and even a great grandchild. They spoke about the jobs they loved, the horses they raised, and the dogs they had over the years. They laughed about the fixer upper they once purchased, and the barn that took them 10 years to restore. They talked about when all of the their kids and family friends would be playing out in the yard on long summer days. After the plane had landed and we were exiting, the man was met with a wheelchair by airport staff. His wife leaned over towards me, and informed me that her husband was unfortunately diagnosed with bone cancer over the summer. This would perhaps be their last vacation away with each other. My heart ached at the thought. I wished them all the best, and told them how much I enjoyed talking to them.
I called my husband as I made my way through the airport. I shared the story with him. We began to talk about what really matters in our life together. This couple didn’t talk about the cars that they had driven, the clothes they had worn, the annoying stress factors that we all deal with every single day. They didn’t talk about having fat days, or bad haircuts, or having being stuck in traffic. It all boiled down to family, friends, and so much love that your heart could burst from it. We can all get so caught up in things that really amount to nothing— inconveniences, materialistic desires, judgmental thoughts, and drama.
So what do my husband and I really want? For us, it is potentially downsizing, pursuing more of our passions, more time together, family, and letting go of stress that is totally not worth stressing over (yes, I am so guilty of stressing, too, and need to take my own advice!). This concept has been something that my husband and I have been talking about for awhile, and my experience only reinforced how we already felt.
I will leave you with this thought: What would your life look like if you brought the focus back to what really matters? Is there some bullshit that you are clinging to that you could drop? What do you need to let go of? Could you bring more love into your intentions and actions? Is your happiness and quality of life being sacrificed for things that deep down really don’t mean much?
Don’t wait. We will not all be so lucky to make it into our eighties. Life is right now.