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On paper, 25 years might seem like a long time. On the other hand, if you believe like many that “life is short”, then 25 years may feel like a mere blip on the face of a clock that’s always ticking double time. I hold to a different philosophy on life and time—one that better supports my credo regarding abundance in all things: Life is actually really, really long and, as such, we owe it to ourselves to fill the time with plenty of interesting, satisfying and different experiences. I don’t recall precisely when I began to hold to this belief, although I think it likely that I stole the concept from a woman selling junk on a beach somewhere. Or maybe someone told me a story about this woman on a beach. Either way, the woman, when asked why she left a comfortable life in corporate America to collect and sell junk to tourists on a beach, responded that she did so toward a commitment to filling her potentially long life with vastly unique experiences. Her stunning devotion to different remained with me.

When I imagine life as a lengthy expanse of space begging to be filled with meaning, I’m compelled to stay busy, not only with doing, but with being, in the world. Time presents new opportunities for learning, creating and sharing. Without the burden of days that end quickly I can take on new study, hobbies and interests. Time invites us to become truly interesting and offers us the luxury of being genuinely interested. If there’s plenty of time then I can sit for hours, being fully present to someone who needs my ear. Time allows us to get things right and to make different choices based upon what we’ve learned. Time gives us a chance to become both expert and novice. I especially love being really good at some things and a rookie at others; by now both experiences are equally satisfying. Being the expert allows me to own a room, perform as a leader and earn respect. My role as novice means I am vulnerable, a better listener and part of the support team. The latter may be a revelation to those of us who carry weighty responsibility day in and out. And sometimes—OK, usually—when I’m operating in the role of apprentice I’ll also get a valuable lesson for my ego.

I love the axiom, Life is short. Do what you love. Somehow this maxim takes on even greater significance when I slightly adjust the wording: Life is long. Do what you love. I’m empowered by the idea that I must love what I do—and who I am—because I’m going to be doing—and being—for a very long time. Years ago this philosophy compelled me to get busy doing my bliss, being with people who matter to me, and leaving good along the way. One of my favorite quotes is one I keep taped to my monitor at the studio: “Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.” Oh to live a life that not only is long, but that feels long … and to suffer satisfaction as busyness in the midst of it all. Maybe one of these months I’ll write something about a satisfying day where I didn’t do much of anything. And, then again, maybe I won’t.

 

 

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