Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Being Selfish with Time

It’s crazy how quickly time goes by.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing- time flies when you’re having fun, they say. Yet it’s great to sit back once in awhile, think about where you are and what direction you’re heading in, and then slow things down. Too often I see people get so caught up in something – whether that’s their schoolwork, job, relationship, etc. – that they don’t even set time aside for personal exploration and accomplishments. And to me, this is very unfortunate.

I know this may seem like a crazy question (especially if you’re around my age), but what’s your goal in life? And if that question is too difficult to answer (which it should be), then narrow it down to your goal for the next year or two or ten. I know my goal is to accumulate as many experiences as possible. You may think “experiences” is vague and can include just about anything, but that is literally how I want it to be translated. I’d like to experience – to feel, achieve and understand – as many situations and emotions as I can.

And that’s not limited to just the good things in life- the bad, tough experiences are the ones that make you stronger for the future. To give two (mediocre) examples: rejection from a job earlier in the year led me on the path to find my current job, which I couldn’t be happier with. In a more physical case- surgery on my shoulder motivated me to get stronger to prevent injury again, and I now feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. And besides for the motivation factor, having these “tough” experiences makes you appreciate the great ones even more- you stop taking them for granted. And the great experiences are the ones you need to make time for in your life.

Great experiences translate to great memories, which to me are worth far more than anything else- they’re priceless. I still get chills when I think about basketball tournaments won with my best friends, or graduating high school alongside my classmates, or bonding on spring break with my fraternity brothers, or the annual family get-togethers on Thanksgiving.

But what I’ve come to realize is that, as you get older, it becomes increasingly more difficult for these experiences to occur naturally. I feel myself seeking them out, more so now than I did when I was younger. And this makes sense- I have more responsibilities now, as I’m sure you do too. You probably have to balance some combination of school, a job (or two), a relationship, fitness, and family. Outside of those commitments, how much time (and energy) do you really have to go out and have those unforgettable times with your friends? How many opportunities do you have to truly explore your interests? Deep down, do you feel like you’re getting a fair shot at accomplishing your personal goals? If you don’t like your answer to any of those questions – and you’re not alone by any means – then I suggest you sit back and re-think your day-to-day.

Time flies by- and it is too short to sacrifice your personal goals. For once, be selfish. Follow your gut. Explore your options. Pursue your passions. Tally up accomplishments. And most of all- don’t look back. It can never hurt to be experience-rich.

Being Selfish with Time