Cambrian: Opinion

Some concepts on how to get the most out of life

“Change” has been on a lot of minds. Age, politics, Mayan calendar How do we shift those paradigms, gracefully, as painlessly as possible? Take the time to pay attention. Start there.

So many people say they feel like they do or maybe even do work 60 hours a week, clean house, shuttle the kids and attend benefit auctions. However, when you find yourself feeling thinned out, stressed out, tapped out, or lashing out, what do you do?

What are we perpetuating? Tip for over-doers: “Don’t say ‘I don’t have time’ say ‘It’s not my priority.” See how that feels.

Take an honest look at how you spend your days. How long do you “consider” things before jumping into a project? (Unsure, fearful, bored?) How many times do you check your phone or Facebook each day? How many things do you take on out of guilt, presumed responsibility, or because you’re “supposed to?”

How many people do I hear actually BRAGGING about how little time they have? Are we supposed to sympathize with them? What does that say about their lifestyle? Yes, we all have moments where we lose track of things but this should not be on a daily basis.

I liked this from the Wall Street Journal: “Claiming to be busy relieves us of the burden of choice. But if you’re working 50 hours a week, and sleeping eight hours a night (56 per week) that leaves 62 hours for other things. That’s plenty of hours for a family life and a personal life — exercising, volunteering, sitting on the porch with the paper, plus watching TV if you like. Set goals — maybe three hours of exercise and swapping out two hours of TV for reading — and see where in your 168 hours you could make that happen.”

Be PRESENT. My friend, Lucy, shook her head when someone walked into her store, past a 3-by-6-foot “Open Thanksgiving Day” banner hanging right over the wide open door, and said, “You should have an OPEN sign out there!” It was Thanksgiving Day.

We wonder why we’re fat or stressed out or hurt all the time we can’t even take time to look up to see the sign. How are we going to be able to examine our lives to make a difference? And time is running out.

There’ve been a lot of yuppy books out there about simplifying, being groovy and getting back in touch. I know people who’ve read them. These people worry about having a big, “safe enough” car to get down to Costco so they can “buy in bulk” and stop at Starbucks on the way back, and stop to buy yet another pair of running shoes. I think they missed the point.

At some point our political systems, financial systems, computer systems, our body systems will set the final shot-clock. “You have 24 seconds to make it count!” Read the signs, printed and in nature. Plant a garden, meet your neighbors, help a stranger — make your time worthwhile.