You know what’s a far better marker of time than a clock or a calendar? That’s right, an address book. Mine is a thirty year old desk size Day-Timer from the late 80s. I loved it, it had pockets, and a bunch of great customizable features like a one day per page calendar and a notepad.
Many planners have come and gone since I retired the Day-Timer. In fact, I have a mild obsession with them and end up making a few pilgrimages to Office Depot, starting around November. I’ll select one and immediately start filling it in, rendering it unreturnable, all the while lamenting some perceived shortcoming it has. So I’ll go buy another and another (usually three is the magic number) until I find one upon which I can settle. But I digress.
All that remains of my 1989 Day-Timer is the address section. Remember those? Do people even have address books anymore? But even though I’ve made an Excel spreadsheet of addresses on my computer, I still go for the address book when it’s time to send cards or invitations. Like now, when the New Year cards are being mailed.
When the calendar pages were new, I diligently wrote the names neatly in pen, and the addresses in pencil to make for easy changes and keep everything in order. Thirty years ago, still a newlywed at the age of 24, I thought my address book would last forever due to my pen/pencil writing system. Such innocence. Or ignorance.
Now, many of these indelibly written names stand as a testament to the fragility of life, and others to the impermanence of the human heart.
The book has become like a time capsule of sorts. There’s X’s grandmother- very special to me- and dear friends- far too many. My father. Their time on earth finished, physically at least.
Then there are many couples, now divorced. I wonder how many address books I still may lurk in with my former married persona, a fleeting reminder of life “back in the day” to someone glancing through. I hope it brings them fond memories.
Often hardest are the names of friends that somehow drifted away, perhaps after a move or a baby, or? Could we really have been that busy?
Of course, we really start to think about the passage of time around late December/early January and then again around our birthdays. I count myself lucky in that my birthday is a few days after New Year’s Day, so I only have to go through this maudlin exercise once a year. Bear with me.
As mere humans, we think time is the one thing that we can’t control. We race against it, fear it and want more of it. We think that packing 10,000 things into our week is squeezing the most out of life.
Last year was amazing for me in many ways, but also with some significant challenges. My year didn’t end on a completely high note goal wise and New Year’s Eve was rather bittersweet. I was really beating myself up over time I felt I wasted. It seemed like I could have done more.
Still, I dutifully started my vision board with hubby that evening, as is our tradition, but with one change. Before starting, I downloaded some goal setting worksheets from Terri Savelle Foy, a motivational speaker whom I admire, and declared some changes.
It’s all well and good to stick some pictures on a board, but there has to be more. Terri’s method is based on Isaiah 46:10 “Declare the end from the beginning.”
“Oh yeah,” I thought, “I’m supposed to decide how I want things to end up and then bring it into reality.” That’s right, Ms. Power of Positive Thinking herself forgot that that even was a thing.
Reverse engineering is a great way to plan. If you’re making dinner for a crowd and want everything to be done at the same time, you work backwards from that hour. If you want to get a bunch of tasks done before you go to an appointment, you have to sort of work backwards from the time you need to leave.
Reverse engineering a whole year is a new thing for me, but I’m super confident that a lot of goals will come to pass in 2019, not by doing more, but by focusing on what’s important.
There is nothing more important than the present moment. Maybe you had a challenging past or you have some uncertainty in your future. And okay, but remember that the reality is in the NOW.
Life is every second. The only way to really beat time is to live in the now, with love and faith in our mortal immortality. As the Stage Manager says in ‘Our Town,’ “There is something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.” We can’t control time, but it turns out we don’t even have to.
So relax, enjoy this moment.