How do you stay mindful and present when life is hard? Although you can’t control what happens, you can increase your quality of time by focusing on these things.
How Do You Spend Your Time Most of the Time?
- chasing money,
- spending time trying to “pass the time,”
- chasing happiness,
- trying to arrange our lives so that we have more free time.
Even though we don’t always follow through with the work, we search for ways to extend our time. Although we can hope to extend the time we have and try to create more quality time and free time, the best we can do is improve the quality of the time we have.
What is Life?
Our friend’s kid posted a picture on Facebook and checked into someplace in Thailand a few years ago. She mentioned gratitude for the events of her past few months and signed off with the question, What is Life?
I believe there’s a song about that.
“The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.”
– James Taylor
Well, isn’t that zen? Being able to appreciate the passage of time, regardless of the quality of that time, would be great! But sometimes life really sucks. How do you enjoy the passage of those times? How do you measure or control the quality of time?
The Passage of Time
I have to admit that I’ve learned that being present helps me appreciate the times when things aren’t going well. Mourning and fretting whatever bad thing is happening during one of those times only draws attention to what is bad about that time.
Realizing that a bad time is just a passage of time helps it seem less permanent.
The time is passing. It’s not permanent. It will eventually be a different, better time. Or maybe a worse time. Instead of wishing things were different, instead of wishing you were somewhere or something else…
Find the lesson. Rebuild. Regrow.
Like when our muscles get sore after exercise. Keep moving and keep stretching.
Some things are permanent, but the passage of time will soften the impact.
Quality of Time
Time scares the shit out of me these days. I’m 47. How much time could I possibly have left? By my calculations, I’m down to maybe 77 or 78 years. Crap. I just had a birthday a few weeks ago. I’m 48.
You also just said shit and crap in one paragraph.
We can influence the quality of time by how we spend it. A great way to do that is doing something that makes memories. Travel is a great way to make memories and give yourself something to look forward to when times are tough. Travel also has some surprising healthy benefits.
Time Well Wasted
I love that Brad Paisley song. He’s not earning money or fixing anything, or making any progress in anything. He’s just enjoying the passage of time, quality time. He “soaked up every minute of the memory we were making.”
Is he enjoying the time because it’s quality time, or is it quality time because he’s enjoying it?
Paisley mentions being in a hurry and running down To-Do lists. We have to balance. We have to spend some time working on progress, on something to have later.
We also need to spend some time on now, making memories, because we’re really going to want some of those later too.
I prefer to use the word invest more than spend. My biggest goal here at Independently Happy is to help you invest time well while learning how to invest it better myself. I’ve wasted enough time to know lots of things you shouldn’t do….
Things you should stop doing. (more on that later)
I’ve learned to recycle–if you will–the time I’ve previously wasted. Much like some abstract artist, I’ve rummaged around the landfills of time and found as many as I could of those hours, days, and years I previously thought wasted. I’m now trying to repurpose them into works that will hopefully offer some value to you. One might say I’m making lemonade out of lemons.
I’m digging through a compost pile, though. Those lemons I find–the ones life has been handing me–they’re old, moldy, and smell disgusting. Whatever it is I’m making, we might assume it will be hard to take, but it’ll be more like kimchi.
Unlike Mary Poppins–whom I’m fortunate enough to have met, by the way–I’ll not offer spoonfuls of sugar to help it go down. Life is too precious to be sugarcoated.
Looking back at years of doing things I shouldn’t have, I’ve got a few things to share along our way. We’ll have the things I’ve done right, the things I’ve done wrong, and what I’ve learned from both.
We all do.
We’ve got the things we did right, the things we did wrong, and what we’ve learned from both.
“We’ve got the things we did right, the things we did wrong, and what we’ve learned from both.”
– Shayne Seymour