“This time matters.” Take a moment. Take a breath. Today matters. This week matters. This year matters. Because you matter. You count.
“This time matters.” I say this to myself at least once a day, usually when I’m trying to slough away layers of stress or get my mind to focus on something worthwhile. You could call it my new mantra, and I wouldn’t correct you. For some reason, though, this was a tough one for me to get to move from my heart onto the page.
My wish for you is that you would make the most of the season you’re in. I wasn’t sure I could do this wish justice, but I want to try, so let me start with a story. One of my favorite things to do is mentor young men and women who are just getting started in “real life.” One particular young woman came out of the gate with a really good head on her shoulders. She has strong principals, she lives by them, and she’s very consistent in doing so in spite of problems and pressures. Here’s the thing: there are a lot of problems and pressures. She’s facing all the same challenges everyone else is, and more, because she consistently seeks out opportunities to go outside her comfort zone. Every single thing I’ve suggested she work on, she has. I sat down with her, and we looked at a list of traits that she set out to develop, and I could honestly tell her I didn’t see a deficiency in any of them. I also told her not to settle too soon, because it’s a great big world, and she has a ton of possibilities in it, and we’re only looking at a tiny sliver right now. It’s as though I’m transferring the power back to her. This is her blank canvas, to decide where she wants to grow and what she wants to create of this life. I can help her work through options and develop her thoughts and ideas, but there’s nothing left for me to “prescribe.” I also warned her that this cycle will repeat over and over as she moves throughout the various seasons of her life, and not to be thrown by that, but the goal is to make the most of each season.
This is true for you, too. This time matters. My hope is that as you move through this very season, you are creating, growing, and becoming. This is not a race. Give yourself as much time as you need to figure out what this means. Pay attention to the clues, the things that feel expansive, the things that excite you, the things that feel like possibility. Look for ways you can make the environment better for yourself and those around you. Look for ways to learn. Look for ways to practice your craft. Look for ways to try something new or go on an adventure. This time matters.
Don’t let uncertainty and fear over the future keep you from enjoying this season now, and living it fully. For myself, I know that when the pressure is on, I want what comes out to be grace, not bitterness. When I was thinking about what I wanted to name this site, this was the theme that kept coming back to me. I don’t want to sugarcoat, and I’m not asking anyone else to either, but I don’t want to stay stuck. I don’t want to wallow. I don’t want to lose out on all of the joy because I was so caught up in the things I was struggling with.
The most practical way I can think to live as though “this time matters” is to not waste what could be a restorative moment on worry, uncertainty or fear. I came across this great quote a few days ago:
“When we wake up in bed on Monday morning and think of the various hurdles we have to jump that day, immediately we feel sad, bored, and bothered. Whereas actually, we’re just lying in bed.” – Alan Watts
That one hit me hard, folks. How many times have I given up what could have been a restorative moment because I was dreading this, that, or the other thing? We can fit a whole lot of self-care into the time we otherwise spend worrying and wallowing.
Whatever you are struggling with today, it matters, and you matter. Don’t let those things be your focus at the expense of all others. Create. Grow. Become.