Moving Forward then Looking Backward

 

“You should call me beautiful,” Lindsay said with a smile, “you always used to call me that.”

“Yeah,” I replied, “back when I was in high school and I had zero responsibilities other than keeping my grades in the safe zone, writing you love notes, and lifting weights.” I shifted my gaze to the floor. “Now all I seem to focus on is making as much money as possible.”

Then I made a statement that she did not necessarily agree with, but I believe is true for most guys who are like me:

In high school we do nothing but look forward to what is next and how to get there.

In our adult life, once we have aged 10-12 years from graduating high school, we try to determine how to create the time we had in high school while maintaining the income we and our families have come to expect and need.

In high school I was hardly making any money. I always hustled at something, but the money was never in massive payouts. In high school I had a lot of time.

I was rich in time.

Fast forward 12 years since graduating and I hustle just as hard, make a lot more money, but have little to no time. Now I am rich in money, but poor in time.

Time is what we all want (ok, maybe not all of us, but a majority of us). A longer life, a longer day, a longer time having coffee chatting with someone special to us, more time to read that good book, etc.

More time.

And now, in our adult lives, the only way to create more time is to first create more money.

More money, if created wisely (i.e. in a way that is creating passive and residual income streams) will afford us the opportunity to spend our time the way we want to spend our time.

For me, this means looking backwards.

In high school, in my late teens, I feel and believe that I had hit the sweet spot in my personality, character, and being. Sure, there were some aspects that were off, and they were corrected, but, for the most part, my late teen years are years I long for.

Why?

Time.

I had time to create. To think. To read. To love. To write.

It was also a time of simplicity. A time where the K.I.S.S. principle was in full effect for me (Keep It Simple Stupid). And that KISS principle allowed my mind and body to be in a place of extreme vigor, to which I desperately want to return.

And that brings me to the simple and silly exchange I had with my wife at the top of this post.

I do need to call her beautiful more often (that’s what I called her in high school instead of using her name) and I certainly don’t need to wait until I have created more money to do so.

But the line of thinking, of stopping to think why I don’t call her beautiful more often, brought me full circle to what I have been working so hard to do for the past year and completely validated the time (and money) I am spending now so that I can have more time (and money) in the near future.

To be frank, I am trying to think of a take away for you, as the reader.

I don’t want to be one of those writers that only writes to self-examine, but I do think that there may be times when that is just as valuable as a more direct approach to writing directly to you.

Because at the end of the day, I write because I need to write. And I hope, that through my writing, you will find something of value that you can take away and use to make your life better, funnier, happier, or all of the above.

Question and Answer (in the comments)

Maybe I’ll just ask a question, and let the words above make the point, whether directly or indirectly. What is something you want more of in your life? And as a follow-up, what daily actions are you taking to achieve that?

Click the like button below if you enjoyed this, leave a comment if this inspired any thoughts, and certainly share if you think this would be enjoyed by someone you know.

But, most importantly, have an awesome day!

Wait

Wait.

Such a simple word. Stop for just a moment. A few moments, maybe. Be still. Calm. Quiet. Don’t do anything. Just. Wait.

You’ve probably done this type of exercise before. I remember doing this type of thing in high school. A teacher would tell the class to stop talking, clear off our desks, and just sit there. All we could hear was the ticking of the standard classroom clock behind us. Seconds turned into minutes. Minutes turned into what felt like hours.

The teacher would break the silence, “Anyone have any idea how long that was?”

A few students would guess (5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc). At every guess the teacher would shake their head, “No,” they would say, “it was just two minutes. One hundred and twenty seconds.” We would all laugh, shake our heads in amazement, and that’s about it. Just be amazed. How could two minutes feel like such an eternity?

Such a simple word, yet so difficult to actually do. 

It was painful. Sitting there, not knowing how much time had passed. What was the point? Why did we have to just sit there and wait?

I’m sure every teacher had a different lesson they were trying to teach. And I’m also sure they would tell us this lesson and try to explain that this particular lesson would be very valuable to remember as we would grow older. I have since forgotten all of these lessons, but have probably experienced most of them first hand in the years that have passed.

As I look back at my life, and I pick out a few parts (especially from the last 10 years or so) that were particularly painful as I went through them, I begin to see a pattern.

At each moment, at each point in time where I was making a decision between two options, I was ignoring the third option. That third option was to wait. Literally. Just stop. Wait. Think. Depending on the situation this could have only required a few seconds to make a difference. Others, a few days, weeks, months, maybe years. But, if I would have chosen to wait, things would have happened much differently after that point in time.  Some of the outcomes would have been much better than what they were, others would have been worse.

My point is this: when you find yourself conflicted, when you have the opportunity to make a decision, stop. Literally. Just stop where you are, and wait. I can’t tell you how long you’ll need to wait, but I encourage you to do so. Wait until you know you have waited long enough to make a better decision than you would have just two minutes ago. Do this today.

Time to Leave

When having coffee with a friend, or at a party, I typically start to leave when the conversation(s) have dried up and everyone begins to study their shoelaces. I’m not one to stick around if I’m left to myself by the fireplace, or if the conversation with a friend over coffee has left my coffee cold. If time is up, then time is up. I don’t see any sense in forcing conversation in any situation. So, I’ll just leave.

How about you? When do you know that it is time to leave?