It is very easy to think about this topic and say to yourself, “I really need to begin focusing on the things that matter.” But, until there is something that forces us to take a step back and really examine things, it is hard to actually do what you read (or in my case what I write).
I wake up every day with a million things running through my mind. I have a full day planned before the day even begins. Some days go as planned, but others not so much.
Every once in a while something happens that is a reminder that we can only control so much in our lives.
This week I was reminded of that. On Tuesday I received an unexpected call from my Fiance where she told me that her grandmother was at the hospital and was not doing well. This was a complete shock to me since she was not sick and seemed like she as in great health just weeks ago.
My first instinct is to always believe in the best, and think positively, so I immediately believed that things would turn around and everything would turn out fine.
I couldn’t have been any more wrong.
Not too long after that I received another call saying that I needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible because she was not going to survive. At that point the hospital was just keeping her comfortable until all the family could get there.
While I am not legally a part of their family until our wedding day, her family has treated me like I am since we first began dating. Her grandmother always made me feel just like any of her other grandchildren.
Standing in the hospital with family surrounding her as she passed, it hit me hard that life doesn’t always go as we plan.
I couldn’t help but realize that life is short.
No matter if we get 20 years here, or 100, the time flies by. Being there reminded me that it is important to take a step back and ask yourself if you are spending your time and energy on the things that really matter.
It made me think about the amount of time I spend with my family and friends. It made question if all my loved ones know that I love them. It made me wonder if I would be OK with the last conversation I had with someone being the last one ever.
I was reminded of three things that day:
1. SAY I LOVE YOU MORE OFTEN
I have grown up in a family that says I love you pretty often.
However, there are still so many times that I leave from spending time with them, or hang up on a phone call from them, without telling them that I love them.
Are you the same way? Do you tell your family and friends that you love them often enough?
I am not suggesting that you go overboard and just start dropping I love you’s right and left. That would take the feeling out of it.
What I am suggesting is that we all take a step back and ask ourselves if we have the opportunity to say I love you to our loved ones more often, and still do so in a meaningful way.
You just never know when the last time will be that you can tell them.
2. DON’T LET THE LITTLE THINGS BOTHER YOU
Do you ever find yourself getting really frustrated over problems that really aren’t that big?
Yeah I know that in the moment they seem like huge problems, but if you take a small step back and look a them are they really that big of an issue? Or are they just differences?
I think that it is important to ask ourselves every once in a while, “Is this the way I want my last conversation with this person to go?”
It may seem a little bit morbid, but we never know when the last time is that we will speak with someone. If something were to happen would you be okay with the last conversation you had with that person? Or would you wish that it had ended differently?
I am not suggesting that we never have disagreements with anyone. That would be impossible – although it would be awesome. I am just saying that even in a disagreement there are a number of ways that the conversation can end.
You can choose to end it in anger, or you can chose to end it with a sense of hope that you will soon be able to come to a solution. You can focus on the fight, or you can focus on the outcome. If you choose to focus on the outcome of a solution, you won’t be as mad at the person.
3. SPEND MORE TIME WITH LOVED ONES
We all have busy lives. Maybe you are working two jobs, or are trying to get ahead in your current job which means spending more time at the office to take on more responsibility. Maybe you are starting your own business on the side, and have to work on that nights and weekends.
Whatever your situation is, it is important to make time for family and friends. Life is not all about work.
Nobody reaches the end of their life and says, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.” However it is extremely common to hear people say, “I wish I had spent more time with my family.”
As Jon Acuff said in his book Start, “Are you calling the right things diamonds?” Spending time with family and friends is one of the most important things that we can do. Yet many times we choose to label work as a diamond, rather than labeling family as one.
Tuesday reminded me what the real diamonds are.
(If you are confused about what I mean with labeling something as a diamond, pick up a copy of Start by Jon Acuff)
I would encourage you today to take a step back and ask yourself if you are spending your time focusing on the things that really matter in this life. Do your loved ones know you love them? Are there any small issues you need to move past?
Don’t wake up tomorrow wishing your last conversation with someone could have been different.
Hope that helps!