We Don’t Have That Kind Of Time.

Today, May 8th, 2018, marks my father’s 76th birthday.

On earth, he got to celebrate 70 of those very special days and now that he’s been gone almost 6 years, May 8th has become even more special to me. Because it serves as a reminder that we don’t have time to waste living a half-life. One where we squander our thoughts on things that don’t matter.

A couple of years ago, my sister-friend, Jessica, turned me on to Ann Lamott. In her work, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Ann shares a message that I believe we all need to hear. And on my father’s 76th birthday, I’d like to share it with you.

It’s about time. 

“About a month before my friend Pammy died, she said something that may have permanently changed me. We had gone shopping for a dress for me to wear that night to a nightclub with the man I was seeing at the time. Pammy was in a wheelchair, wearing her Queen Mum wig, the Easy Rider look in her eyes. I tried on a lavender minidress, which is not my usual style. I tend to wear big, baggy clothes. People used to tell me I dressed like John Goodman. Anyway, the dress fit perfectly, and I came out to model it for her. I stood there feeling very shy and self-conscious and pleased. Then I said, ‘Do you think it makes my hips look too big?’ and she said to me slowly, ‘Annie? I really don’t think you have that kind of time.'”

Ann’s memory of this experience reminds me that I have simply wasted too much time worrying or fussing about things that really do not matter. I mean, how much time have I wasted worrying about how I look and how I am perceived and what other people think of me?

I will tell you how much…..TOO MUCH.

Waaaaay too much and I have been working reeeealllly harrd for a looonnggg time to release some of the society- and self-imposed pressure I’ve placed on myself in this area. It has taken me years (and I have a lonnnggg way to go) to stop the incessant tape playing in my head that continues to hijack my brain and bully me into believing that I am not smart enough, skilled enough, attractive enough, rich enough or strong enough to do the things I want to do in my life.

I have some pretty massive dreams that I STILL have NO CLUE how I am going to achieve, but I am glad I have them and I believe I will achieve them in the right time.

But I am not waiting until that time to experience joy and meaning in my life.

Because I realize that I get to choose joy. I get to create meaning.

It is all up to me.

I was speaking with someone recently and they shared that they will be happy when….when they get their business going strong and when their kids are grown and thriving in their lives…this time in the future where all will be well.

And I was reminded of Ann’s message; that we don’t have that kind of time.

We don’t have the kind of time that allows us to only be happy when.

When we lose the weight.

When we get the Botox.

When we own the house.

When we get the job.

When we have the kids.

When we’ve got the money.

And all of this is so easy to say, but so much harder to practice. But with practice, we create habits; ways of thinking and behaving that lead us closer to who we really are.

I’m working on it.

We all can.

When we realize that our life is not some point in the future, but rather right now…and now.

And now.

In each of the tiniest of moments and decisions and actions and thoughts and words, our life is unfolding.

We are unfolding.

I am mindful that I want to spend my time–all of the tiny moments in between the seemingly big things like new jobs and cars and moves and celebrations–showing up as the person I want to be; not some ideal of what I think I should be.

Because I don’t have that kind of time.

If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that we can be seduced into wasting our lives waiting for a time that never comes. 

And we simply don’t have time for that.

So today, on what would be my father’s 76th birthday, I choose to be happy now. With what I have. With where I am.

And with who I am.

I honour my father in this way.

Because I think he’d be pretty proud of his little girl.

I choose to love my life…now. The way it is.

I want the same for you.

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

P.S. When I went back through some old posts, looking for the words I’d written about my Dad, I realized there were quite a few of them. Here is one of my favourites, if you’d like to read it.

 

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