Yes, you guessed it. There isn’t any secret to living longer. There’s only a secret that helps us to make the most of the life that we currently have. Well, it’s not exactly a secret. It’s only a general knowledge that’s hidden in plain sight which I discovered during a period of deep sadness. At that time, I was beginning to contemplate the meaning of life.
I realized that so often, we judge the quality of our lives and those of others by looking through the eyes of consumerism where what we have matters more than who we are. The invention of social media has further intensified our focus on ‘seeming’ rather than ‘being’.
We have been made to believe that money is the currency of life, but how has that worked out so far? History screams out the long list of names of wealthy people who lived out pretty miserable lives. We end up being covered by the thick blanket of regret on our death beds because “I wish I had…”
“Time is the currency of life.”
Yes, it’s true. Take a moment to think about it. When we die, our life span is counted in years or months or whatever. Regardless, those metrics are still measures of a fraction of the time our lives lasted for. Each second that passes is spent from the limited amount of time we have on earth.
Each time we scroll mindlessly through Facebook, Instagram, etc. the data being spent is only a pseudo cost. The real costs are our LIVES.
Time is not a unit of life. Life is only a fraction of time.
I learnt that the hard way when one day, I had planned to read a book. I picked up my phone to respond to a message which had just come in. 6 hours later, I was still on my phone laughing hysterically about some not-so-funny post that had graced my timeline.
Here, I incurred two costs. One real cost. One opportunity cost. The real cost was 6 hours of my life wasted which I would never be able to retrieve. The opportunity cost was the information I would have acquired from reading during those 6 hours.
So how do we live longer?
From my experience, I’ve learnt that we can’t. But we can live better.
Most of the most influential writers on Medium write on productivity. Which is good. However, they present a perspective of life through the pinhole of risk aversion and, in the process, diminish life to a couple of tasks to be completed by ticking off some checkboxes.
To live better…
We need to understand what ‘better living’ means. To me, to live better is to spend more time doing those things I would have regretted not doing if I was to die today.
Create a permanent view of life as a limited supply of time. Think about your week in terms of time, preferably hours (168 hours). Choose carefully what you spend that time on.
Identify those things which matter the most to you and create time to do them. Key word is doing not thinking about doing or planning to do. In the end, actions speak louder than words, and definitely much much much louder than mere thoughts.
There’s no such thing as “I don’t have time to…” That’s a lie. In reality, we carve time for the things we consider a priority. Spend your time on things that either grow you, challenge you, or take you a couple steps closer to your goals. What those things are fully depends on you.
Most importantly, keep a circle of friends who hold you accountable to managing your time. Have people who you check in with who ensure that you complete the things you had planned to at the beginning of the week.
We can’t live longer, but if we make the most of the time we have, we can do so much more in less time; thus making time seem much longer.
Make the most of your time. It’s what life is made of. It’s all we’ve got.