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I woke this morning with a panicky feeling in my gut. The panic was a vague sense that I had accomplished absolutely nothing or next to it this last year. I spent the better part of a year, surviving.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Surviving is not always bad, sometimes it should not only be rewarded, but applauded, but I feel as if I seem to be missing something, that what I want to do and be is just out of reach because I spend more days than I should like today: aimlessly wandering from one room to another putting out fires and vaguely aware that I should be doing something else, but unsure of what.
My fear is that this will last one more year. That next year, I will wake up December 29, 2017 and wonder what I’ve been doing with the last 12 months of my life. So, I have begun that time honored tradition of thinking about what goals I want to set in the New Year.
As I have thought about what I want to accomplish this year, I am reminded of a member of my church who passed away this last summer. At 54, he was young, but already a grandpa. He had married his high school sweetheart and together they had 5 children. He found a job in a meaningful career that fascinated him. He enjoyed camping, going on motorcycle rides, hiking and boating. He was known for his spreadsheets, his quiet acts of service, his long explanations, but most of all for his love of family and kindness to his colleagues and friends. His life was concise, but full of substance and meaning; pithy.
A pithy day, a pithy year, a pithy life. What would that look like to you? A pithy day, for me, would draw on this man’s example. It would include meaningful time with family and friends, time spent in service to others and time in pursuits that I love and it would include a lot less aimless wandering.
As we begin a new year, I think it is helpful to think about what is pithy to us personally. To figure this out, I’ve decided to start by creating a list of 100 dreams as suggested in Laura Vanderkaam’s book, “168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.”
In this book, the author, Laura Vanderkaam argues that we all have the same 168 hours, but that a lot of us are aimlessly wandering around, like I have been today.
“The key message of this book is that there is time for anything that matters.” (Vanderkam, Laura. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. New York. Portfolio, 2010. p. 207)
But to do whatever matters to you, you first have to know what that is and second you have to schedule it in.
I invite you to join me in this challenge. Before next Thursday or my next post pull out a piece of paper and write down 100 things you’d like to do in your lifetime. This can be important things like make a difference in the world and not so important things like read all the Harry Potter books to your kids before they turn 16. Whatever is important to you write it down.
A pithy day, a pithy year, a pithy life means that we enjoy/learn/do whatever is most meaningful to us. We don’t have to wait for some elusive day to do that. We can choose right now to enjoy the people around us, to learn and grow in small important ways, to serve, to be happy, to create more pith. And we can start right now by figuring out just what that is.
Now I mustache you a question?
What would a pithy day look like to you? A pithy year? A pithy life?
Start by writing your list of 100 dreams. Then you can begin to break that down into things you want to do accomplish this year and maybe even some things you can start this day or month.
Write it down in a journal, talk about it with a friend, or leave a comment below.
And come back next week, when I share my list of 100 dreams and 4 short sentences that I hope will keep me more motivated in 2017.