There is nothing like a brush with mortality to strike a chord of urgency in a person. What do I mean by urgency? I mean the indisputable truth that no one lives forever so time should not be wasted. If possible.
Last April, I was in London after attending Meddle One. I had been enjoying some shopping at Harrods then I wandered over to the Victoria and Albert Museum. I wanted to see the David Bowie exhibit. The lines were long so I decided to see the other parts of the museum instead. After walking around for quite awhile, I slipped into a quiet room to check my phone and have a rest. After making the usual rounds from email to Twitter, to Facebook, I relaxed on a nearby bench and closed my eyes for a couple of minutes.
When I opened my eyes, I realized where I was. I was in a huge room of plaster casts of famous tombs. There were dozens of them some dating back to people who had lived over 600 years ago. That is a long time and the realization took my breath away. What’s more, these are famous people. Millions more had died and they don’t have a plaster cast of their tomb in a museum somewhere! Talk about feeling mortal!
I can recall my first “finite time on the planet” realization. I remember exactly where I was. I was lying on my daughter’s bed chatting with her. I was 45 years old, and I was an enthusiastic bike rider at the time. Suddenly, I declared with great bravado that I was going to record 100,000 miles on my bicycle. At that time, I was only riding around 2,000 miles per year. So to get to 100,000 miles, at that moment I figured I had to step it up considerably or ride for another 45 years! That would make me 90 years old! Would I even be around then? That hit me like a megawatt jolt.
I think as we get older, we come to realize that we won’t get to do everything that we ever wanted to do. Maybe the first realization of time passing will be when you graduate from college and you realize that the time flew by. Or that your kids have grown and moved away. At some point, it will hit you that life goes fast so you better get going!
It’s really important to get started on doing what is really important to you. Don’t get mired up in “shoulds” and miss opportunities to take the first step toward something that really resonates with who you are. Or what your heart desires. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering it just has to be meaningful. For you.
The point is, don’t wait forever. And don’t wait for someone else to do any of this for you. If you don’t know how to get started, hire a coach or attend a workshop. Find a friend who is just as eager as you are to push the limits, even if just a little. Ask yourself, what am I willing to do to give my life an extra squeeze?