The Greatest Wealth Is Time With Those We Love
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Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to create a life.
Priorities shift over the years. The older we get, the more we understand the real value of time and the freedom to spend it with those we love the most. Family, friends, significant others.
In the times of Covid, we have all been starkly reminded of this reality and just how quickly it can change. Many of us, myself included, have faced a drastic reduction in the amount of time we spend around those we love for the sake of protecting them (and ourselves).
This is a difficult but important realization for a society that values being busy above all else. We even value being busy over real productivity. We place weight on tasks that take more time even if they could’ve been effectively done much quicker. This is what a “by the hour” society results in, but that’s a different conversation.
I can say from experience that it feels as though 2020 barely even happened. Shutdowns and quarantines began here in March, and I am writing this in October. Events, concerts, weddings, family gatherings, birthday celebrations…all either completely canceled or enjoyed from afar. No family hugs, kisses, or indoor gatherings.
An entire summer that seemingly disappeared.
Tragic? Perhaps. But also an opportunity for reflection and adjustment.
Now is the time we make even more conscious choices about who we spend our time with. Our circles are becoming smaller, but also tighter. We see those we really love even more often because we aren’t spending our time on frivolous outings or gatherings that, we’ve realized, were just there to pass the time.
We must remain productive and focused, of course. There is fulfillment and happiness to be found in achieving professional goals, building a business, and striving to live a more free life in an atmosphere you truly enjoy.
The purpose, though…the real purpose behind striving to build that life is to enjoy it with those you love. To have the time freedom to see them when you are able. To embrace and absorb those moments spent together, for they are not spent like money which can be regained.
Once they are spent, they turn into memories we carry with us. They cannot be spent again.
That, I believe, is what we’ve lost sight of.
A generation that values “likes” over love will never really know the value of either one.
We must pause and disconnect at times. To sit in peace without the constant yanking of phone dings or notifications is one of life’s most underrated pleasures. A pleasure most of us forget even exists because we never stop to slow down and look around.
How can we? Bills must be paid, commutes must be driven, chores must be done. It seemingly never ends.
Just like we prioritize time for our tasks, though, we must prioritize time for ourselves and our families.
Our tasks will not care for us when we get sick. Our tasks will not comfort us when we are sad. Our tasks will not pick us up in the middle of the night when we have a flat tire.
Our loved ones do, as we do for them.
Why, then, do we fail so often to realize how important they are?
The truth is we tacitly assume that this all lasts forever, don’t we?
If we are fortunate enough to not have a sick family member or a constant reminder of mortality, it’s easy to go about our days forgetting that our time here is limited.
A tragic event or extreme story on the news or the passing of someone you once knew may serve as a reality check, as we like to call it — but, why need this type of trigger to be reminded of such a fundamental reality?
We must value and cherish each moment we spend, each photo we take, each phase of growth through life.
Look at a photo of yourself from 10 years ago. Do you remember that moment? Were you so consciously aware and present that you can feel the air? Hear the music that was playing?
The full human experience is only available to those who commit to being fully present in the moment as it arises. Stop, feel the sun. Smell the roses. Walk slowly in the rain. Breathe deeply during that kiss. Hold that hug for a few more seconds. Observe the innocence of babies and pets.
These are the moments that life is really made of. The things we accumulate along the way are simply decoration.
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