“Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin into the future”
-Fly Like An Eagle — The Steve Miller Band
There are a few things true about time. Time is relentless. Time keeps moving. Time never surrenders and time is undefeated. We can try to accelerate or decelerate time but it does not work. Time just keeps right on ticking. As the Steve Miller Band said so poetically, “Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin into the future,” and that is how I often feel. Time is relentless.
A few years ago I started to define my One Word for the year. It was something I picked up from Jon Gordon, the author of The Energy Bus among other books, and something I’ve used to bring focus to how I frame up my year. It has been a powerful and sometimes entertaining process. It is interesting to look back at each year and see my One Word emerge as a constant theme throughout that year.
This year my One Word is Invest. As I sat down, over a number of days, to think through my One Word for 2021, I started thinking about my (3) children. I started thinking about how many Christmases I have left with them before they go to off to college. I started thinking about how many more spring breaks and summer vacations we will have together as a family before they head out and start thinking about building their own family. Those kind of thoughts can be very sobering, and very emotional, but they did get me thinking about what I am doing with the time I have with them today. That led me to my One Word for the year, Invest.
I started thinking about the song from the musical Rent called Seasons of Love. The lyrics talk about the number of minutes and moments we have each year and how we measure the quality of those moments.
“Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?”
Those lyrics got me thinking about the minutes and moments a little closer to home how much time I really have with my children.
My oldest turns (16) in February. It is hard to contemplate having a (16) year old in general much less how much time I have left to invest in him. As I stated to think about it, I calculated:
· # of Christmases left before they go to college — Joshua (2), Jacob (5), Anniston (8)
· # of days until they graduate high school — Joshua (884), Jacob (1981), Anniston (3077)
· # of spring breaks or summer vacations — Joshua (3), Jacob (6), Anniston (9)
· # of weekends — Joshua (126), Jacob (282), Anniston (439)
It may seem like a lot in some cases, but it’s not when you consider how relentless time is.
My conclusion was, “how do I make the most of these opportunities? How do I go all-in on my investment of relational currency knowing that the return on investment far outweighs anything else I could invest my time in today? How do I accelerate my investment instead of decelerating my investment?”
It really comes down to choice management and not time management. It comes down to what I choose each day to invest in given the allotment of time I have each day. It comes down to being intentional and not accidental with the 1,440 minutes I have each day. It comes down to choosing to design vs. choosing to drift.
Choice. Intentional. Invest. Those are key words I want to be on repeat in my mind as I approach each day so I can make the most of every opportunity I have. Regret is permanent and I don’t want to look back on my investments and wish I would have chosen a different direction.
Yes, it is easier to drift. Yes, I might not experience the pain and inconvenience of failure by just allowing time to continue to “keep on slippin” but I have learned that type of pain only lasts for a short time. I have also learned that the pain that lasts a lifetime is regret. I do not want to be sitting at graduation day for any of my children with the pain of regret dominating me.
The great news is we can choose to invest. We can choose to make a difference. We can choose to make the most of every opportunity we have in front of us. We can choose what we do with the five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes we have over the next 365 days. Choose wisely.