The Most Valuable Gift
"I believe that one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself is time. Taking time to be more fully present. Your journey to become more inspired and connected to the deeper world around us starts now.” These are the opening lines to Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations Podcast, and ones that really made me stop and ponder.
Time has always been something I’ve always been very conscientious of, and deemed important. Now that I take a look at it, time actually determines most of my day. I set my alarm clock to wake me up at a certain time. I get out of bed to workout at a specific time in order to get ready and make it to work on time. I’m to be present at work a certain portion of time during the day. I leave work at a certain time in order to make it to other events and happenings that start at a specific time. I go to bed at a certain time so I can get enough sleep so I can wake up at a certain time and do it all again the next day. It obviously plays a huge part of my life, and there’s often days when I feel like there’s not enough time. But, what is time? Why do we obsess about it? Why do we determine our days and lives around time?
The definition of time is “an indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future“. Time stops for no one. You can’t back it up. You can’t pause it. And although it’s indefinite, there always seems to be a lack of the precious resource, yet we waste a lot. Billions of dollars worth of products and technology are purchased every year to save time.
When I was younger, I can remember time seeming to take forever. I read somewhere that this is because when we are young, say 5 years old, an hour is a far greater percentage of our life than it is when we are 50 years old. That makes sense to me because now time seems to fly by. An hour goes by in an instant. I woke up the other day and realized we are halfway through 2018, and it seems like we just celebrated Christmas!
So, how do we make the most of our time? I’m not talking about being more productive, or buying the latest electronic planner, or drinking more Red Bull so you can stay up for more hours during the day. What I’m talking about is truly realizing that the only time we have is now, and making the most of each moment.
The time we have on this Earth is a gift, that’s why it’s called the “present”. As cliche as that sounds, I truly believe that. I spent a great deal of my life wishing for the next moment, or accomplishment to make me happy. Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher, said “If you are depressed, you’re living in the past. If you are anxious, you’re living in the future. If you are at peace, you’re living in the present.” I spent a great deal of time being depressed and anxious, rarely at peace. That’s because I was always looking back at the could’ve, should’ve, would’ves, or anxiously waiting for the future to happen because I thought that’s where I would finally find the serenity I was searching for. What I know now is that there is only the now. The future will not exist because it will no longer be the future, it will be the present. I know that sounds crazy, but just think about it. Tomorrow will never come because it will be today.
My life changed drastically when I learned to value the present. My Higher Power is in this moment. If I’m truly present and in the moment that’s happening, I am at peace. If I can be aware and awake to what’s happening around me and inside of me in the moment, I open my eyes and heart to what the world is giving me. If I’m somewhere else (the past or future), I miss all the wonderful things that life has to offer. Although I realize this, it doesn’t mean I live in the moment 100% of the time. The worry, anxiety, depression, can still creep in. But I can always take a deep breath, look down at my feet, and know that in this moment, everything is fine. In this moment, I am connected.