How might you fill in this blank?
Any time spent _____________ is absolutely not a waste of time!
Come up with an idea? What was the very first thing that came to your mind?
Now, ask your husband or wife for their “first response.” Any surprises there? A penny for your private thoughts?
I wonder, as we think about New Year’s resolutions or goals (sounds clinical) for the coming year, if we might do better to brainstorm with this simple question for just a few minutes.
We’re well aware of things that consume and that often feel such a waste of time; the mostly non-negotiable. But perhaps it might be more helpful and clarifying to identify five things that we know we just love to do, things that make a day feel so worth-while, things we happily recall as time so well spent, and time not wasted… as we drift off to sleep at night. Things in the spirit of “…now that was a great idea! …that was time well-spent!”
And yet, life can so easily get away on us and these ideals can so easily get snowed under and lost.
Charles Hummel captured some of this thinking brilliantly in his very little book “Tyranny of the Urgent,” in which he suggested that our lives are dominated, not by the important, but by the urgent.
Steven Covey, many years later challenged us to set these priorities straight, in his book “First Things First!” I believe it was Covey who also intoned “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
And long before Nike swished us with the “Just Do It,” Goethe regaled his listeners with his urgent plea to (for goodness sake!) just BEGIN something new! Now!
But begin what?
The top ten New Year’s Resolutions, though worthwhile I’m sure, are not overly inspiring. Get fit, quit smoking, quit drinking, loose weight, get out of debt, get along better with folk, etc. These seem quite far from the inspiration of that old Lutheran Pastor…
“Who loves not women, wine and song remains a fool his whole life long.” – Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Hmm. One suspect that Luther got up to all sorts of shenanigans at his new years party!
Instead of (or perhaps in addition to) New Year Resolutions, see what your brain drifts up, in one minute or less, list…
For me, any time spent _____________ is absolutely not a waste of time!
Got them? Five passionate truths about who you are when you are most yourself!
Now write these somewhere into your day-timer or wallet or phone or PDF. Five cogent reminders about what’s really important, what matters, what will make the difference in the long run, have enduring value, you name it.
Ask your husband or wife to do the same. No cheating. Compare notes and perhaps discover something about the other. And then… ask each other for help!
“Would you please… help me get to these things this year? Can I help you with yours? Can we help each other? Just five things?”
My suspicion is that these five ideas might be a bit more stimulating and rewarding than your garden variety New Year’s Resolutions.
And if we have not only our own for reminder, but also each other’s list as we go through our days and through this year (even on scrap of paper in your wallet) then perhaps we’ll be a bit more aware and a bit more intentional about what really brings life and satisfaction to our lover. And maybe, maybe we really can help!
Someone once remarked that “the main disease of old age is regret.” Do you think this may be true? What a harsh reality. But also an inspiration to think about what it might be for us to be a bit more true to ourselves as we launch into a new year. These five passionate ideas are a start.
Carpe diem! (x 5)
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” – Goethe – (1749-1832)
How might YOU answer this question, “For me, any time spent _____________ is absolutely not a waste of time!”