I’ve been on a purging-my-house-of-unnecessary-things roll over the past six months. I thought the timing was perfect to get rid of “stuff” now that my kids have left the nest, and I’ve been staying home more due to COVID.
Old hockey gear-gone?! Broken toys-gone! Out-of-style clothes-gone! Unread books-gone! Bank statements from the 90’s-gone!
At this point, I don’t think there’s a room in our house that hasn’t been affected by my purging spree. The idea for this blog came from the purging that took place in our storage room where I keep the family keepsake bins.
Little did I know that going through all of my personal memorabilia would make me a tearful mess. Yep! I ended up crying big fat sloppy “where have all the years gone” tears.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
Ribbons, my stamp collection, a potholder (my first attempt at crocheting), old report cards, high school yearbooks, my first pair of pantyhose (yes, I kept them and yes, it’s weird)), cheerleading pins, a dried-up wrist corsage from my prom date, engagement pics, concert tickets, airline receipts, graduation announcements, love letters, ultrasound pics, and so much more.
As I went through my bin I kept asking myself how had all those years come and gone so quickly. Life sure does go by in the blink of an eye, doesn’t it? My wise parents were right when they told me to enjoy every single day as it comes along because “the days are long, but the years are short!”.
Oh, To Be a Kid Again
Sure we all have 24 hours in a day, but there are a few reasons why children and adults experience time going by at different “speeds”.
Children soak up information like little sponges. They ask “why” about all kinds of things: Why do worms wiggle? Why does the moon hide behind the clouds? Why should I brush my teeth? Many things are a novelty to them: New experiences. New environments. New words. New people. Life, to them, is fascinating.
Adults tend to process less information. They don’t ask “why” as frequently. As adults age life can be routine and ho-hum. They often operate out of a “keep your heads down and get ‘er done” mentality. They become desensitized to things going on around them as they work to build a life. Stress often gains the upper hand in their life.
Your Years in Squares
Recently I heard someone mention that we should all stop and think of our life as a grid with 100 squares. Ten squares across and 10 squares going down. Each square represents a year in your life. Now visualize ourselves coloring in a square for every year you’ve been alive. What would the grid look like? Would only a few rows be colored? Would half of them? This year was my “double nickels” (55) birthday. A few days ago I actually did this activity. Talk about feeling sucker-punched after filling in my grid! BAM! My grid is over half filled!
I’ve created a grid, like the one here, that you can download and copy here.
3 Things You Can Do NOW to Make Your Life Slow Down
So what do we do if our life seems to be speeding by at warp speed? How do we put on the brakes and slow it down?
- Later. Someday. Soon. First off, stop saying things like “I’ll do it later”, “I’ll do it someday”, “I’ll get to it soon”, and “I’ll do it tomorrow”. Do that “thing” now! Start the business. Take the lessons. Get the degree. Ask her out. Profess your faith. Book the vacation. Drink the “special occasion” bottle of wine! Eat the cake! Don’t let your life grid fill up without you living!
- Experience NEW Things. Say no to routines and ho-hum living. Be like a child and experience new things. Visit a new country. Try a new cuisine. Take new training. Start a new job. Meet new people. Take up a new hobby. Learn a new skill. Yes, eating well and exercising are keys to a great life, but so are having new experiences!
- Practice Mindfulness. Before you roll your eyes and think I mean sitting in the lotus position and humming, think again. Being mindful simply means being aware of what you’re seeing around you, feeling inside and to the touch, tasting, hearing and smelling. Put your phone down, get off social media, stop gobbling your food, listen to hear, inhale, exhale. In other words, practice purposely focusing your attention on the present moment.
I don’t need to tell you that you and I get one shot at this life. You already know this. What do you want to be remembered for? A frazzled, overworked, overtired, just “going through the motions” kind of person or do you want to be remembered as a person who embraced all that life had to offer?
Friend, from this day forward, stop living your life blindfolded and on autopilot. Let’s not get so busy building a life that we forget to live. Carpe diem!