Monday, August 8, 2005
Dresser and kitchen drawers. Garages and attics. Closets and storage boxes. Space galore, just waiting to filled with numerous items. Space potentially filled to the brim with an assortment of odds-n-ends...
It's a simply theory but one that has substantial merit: The amount of one's belongings will always expand to meet the volume of one's total storage space.
"Life just gives us time and space; it's up to us to fill it."
It is a quote that I've heard phrased and paraphrased throughout my life. It was also a quote that would be uttered by my father on occasion when he was attempting to have me focus on the larger aspects of Life. It's a poignant and ominous responsibility to think such a thought; our responsibility to be a caring steward of that which has been given to us.
Multiple cable channels to watch, weekend recreations to plan, evening obligations to honor, books to read, home projects to complete, phone calls to make, bills to pay, "to do" lists abounding... there is literally an endless amount of tasks and journeys with which to fill - and we do - our days. And I haven't even begun to address human relationships.
There is a popular expression that you can easily fill with your own passions or interests and it states, "So many _____ and so little time." If you are at all motivated in any direction, you might have already filled in the statement with the first thing that came to your mind. But please, forget about that blank-to-fill and focus on the more important aspect of this expression: "...and so little time." It is the part of the expression we unconsciously ignore and it is the part of the expression that unconsciously affects each of our lives in ways we can't begin to comprehend. We either find ourselves frantic, possibly because we feel that "life is passing us by." Or we find ourselves ambivalent and fill our time with just "stuff and things..."
My friend, it is a tremendous, an ominous, responsibility to consider the manner in which you fill the time and space given to you. It not only affects you, your direction and future, but the lives of so many others. On December 29, 1995, I chose to share a majority of the time and space in my life with my wife Di - from that day forward. On November 27, 1997 and on September 26, 2003, Di and I chose to share a majority of the time and space in our lives with our children Leo, Emily, Hannah and Nicholas. Choices well made but ones that have consequences. My father would remind me "that for every "yes" you commit to, you have to say "no" to several other things. In my case, for example, the birth of my son Leo in 1997 has now given way to summer baseball games, fall soccer games, karate classes, school functions, PTO meetings, evening prayers, prepared meals, more laundry, etc... and that time and space alotted to my life begins to fill... Again, I am in no way complaining, but merely pointing out this point: You have the awesome responsibility and power to choose; to choose not only how you live your life but for what purpose(s).
And while we know of this responsibility, somehow we've collectively organized our life journey a little backwards. We focus so much time on deciding our career path and then decide what other elements - relationships, marriage, children, noble causes - that we have time to fit into our already busy schedule. No wonder so many individuals can't sleep at night - so much to do and be and so little time...
Perhaps you find yourself a slight bit frantic? Are you middle-aged now and feeling the subtle strains of Life passing you by? Are you in your twilight years and feeling melancholy of what you could/should have done during the years passed? For better or worse, my friend, the years behind you are just that: behind you. There is no chance to reconcile; to live them all over again. But for better, you are given the time and space right now and the unknown days ahead to fill. With what shall you fill them? It is the answer to this question that will ultimately lead you on grand adventures or leave you in the ruins of future regret. If you are feeling frantic and unfulfilled, reevaluate your direction and storage space. Remove some of those items that are just collecting dust, "good will" some of your stock-piled items and begin again - today. As I have said so many times before (and can be adapted here), "The most difficult and painful steps in any fitness regime that you have are those first few from your bed to your treadmill or bicycle." It's time to get out of bed and fill your time and space with more than just idle gossip, daily worries, frantic anxieties and time-wasting tasks. Inspire yourself! Motivate yourself! Treat yourself to a Life worth living and remembering.
My friend, don't just fill your time and space, like you're arbitrarily filling a bowl of cereal. Fill that time and space, cram that time and space with love and mission and purpose. It is not that there is so little time and so many things to do, it's simply that we each choose too many unneeded things to do to fill our time and space. Think about it. It may be time to clean the closets and garage of your life...
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