“Life is short.”
We hear this all the time. It’s a pithy little phrase that seems to provide not a whole lot of insight. How should we react when told, time and time again, that “life is short”?
Reframing this axiom is the only way to really appreciate the hidden kernel of thought behind the original: “Your time is limited.” Now that phrasing, to my ears, makes the idea of mortality much much ominous and clear, and for that matter, much more personal.
It begs the question: “With my limited time, what should I do?”
For many, this relates to what line of work should be pursued–as if everyone has a free choice in the matter.
The notion of “doing” is interwoven with occupation and vocation. Perhaps this is because we are expected to spend eight to ten hours, five days a week, on this activity. Perhaps because we are expected to be “productive members of society.”
Either way, “doing” is much more than “working.” As such, I would suggest that the better question would be phrased like this:
“With my limited time, how should I be living?”
You see, when the word “living” supplants “doing,” we are inclined to think much more broadly about who we are, what we do, and how we go about our daily lives.
What would mean for you to dwell on that question: “With my limited time, how should I be living?”
I challenge you to spend the next week thinking about this. It doesn’t matter whether you are 8 or 80. (Though I imagine not many 8 year olds are reading this.)
Write the question on an index card and carry it around with you. Think it over. Try to imagine what your life would be like if only you had the time.
Because you do.