I recently watched a very well articulated speech by a young man, who was the Valedictorian of his graduating class (presuming high school). He brought up something that I thought was especially relevant to me (and probably many others) right now.
If you don’t feel like watching the video, essentially he speaks about how he was SO focused, worked SO hard and achieved his goal to be Valedictorian … only to realize that after about 15 seconds the excitement was over and he was left knowing he would get that “title” and give a 5 minute speech – but really he had missed out on so much more. He missed out on social events, relationships that could have been tended to, moments with family and friends, and his own happiness sometimes.
In a time of year/season that is SO fixated on “goals” and the achievement of them – I think this “16th second” is a way to think carefully and curate goals that are based on what TRULY matters to you. I know I am guilty of being SO focused on a goal that I missed out on life, or people, and then in turn – when I achieved that goal I still felt empty. I still felt like there was something missing – and THAT is how I know (in retrospect) that the “goal” I set wasn’t one that truly aligned with what I honestly wanted, believed or valued.
How we spend our time is really important – and no one can go back and “make up” that lost time in the end, either to ourselves or to others. If we can’t take the time for relaxation/fun for ourselves – there’s no way we can show up in our best state for our family, friends and loved ones. We show up grumpy, snappy, bitter, bored, uninterested, etc. Learning to show up for yourself is a hard pill to swallow, when we’re all so conditioned to be everything for everyone else, at a moments notice – taking a few minutes for your own happiness is truly imperative.
Once you’re in the right frame of mind – THEN you can spend meaningful, quality time building and improving upon the relationships that are important to you. Dive deeper into a friendship, ask a partner something you don’t know about them, spend the afternoon with a child or volunteering in your community. The quality of those interactions can be so much more when you have the mental and physical energy to take an active role in the relationship.
I seriously doubt that when the time comes, anyone would want to be shown a list of the priorities they held in life and see themselves, their family and the people they love were not in the top. It would be a sad state to think that we got so wrapped up in “work” or “money” or “social media” that we forgot to MAKE time for those people who mean the most.
After the “15 seconds” of excitement have come and gone – will you be left with more than just getting to say you “achieved” a goal?