What Matters to You
In his book Drive, Daniel Pink states that when people turn 60 something happens in many. This is the age at which many pause and, often for the first time, take stock of the fact that most of their life has been lived. There is far less road in front of them than there is behind them.
Pink goes on to say that statistics tell us that if a person has survived to the age of 60 there is a good chance they will be around for another 20-25 years. Rather than thinking about the years ahead of them, however, many will look back 25 years to the age of 35 and say, “Boy, did that ever go fast.” The question in that statement is, “Will the next 25 go as fast or faster?”
I read a Forrest Gump like statement some years ago that expresses the feelings of many: “Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you come to the end, the faster it goes.” In looking at my now grown kids with children of their own, I often find myself wondering, “Where did the years go?”
Many of us might identify with the supposed ancient Chinese proverb: “Too soon old. Too late smart.”
Where is your life going? Are you investing it in things that matter to you and to God or are you just spending it? If you continue doing what you are now doing with that unreplenishable commodity called “time,” what will you have to show for your life at the end? Will God judge you as having been a wise steward?
In his book 18 Minutes, Peter Bergman shares an article he read by Bonnie Ware titled, “Top Five Regrets of the Dying.” Ware writes from the perspective of one who spent many years nursing people who had been sent home to die. What would you guess was the most common regret? “I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
The second most common regret was, “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
If you put these two regrets together, what you realize is that what people really regret in their final days isn’t simply working too hard but working so hard on things that simply didn’t matter to them. If what we do matters to us, then it represents a life true to us. And if our work matters to us, we can in the end die without the regrets that haunt so many of the dying. We would live more full and engaged lives.
So the question for you is: What matters to you?