Do you know how long have you been alive? Today is my 20,000th day! Or if you prefer, you can think of it as… 479,997 hours, or 2,857 weeks, or 1,428 fortnights, or 735 lunar months. But my favorite is 384 dog years – that’s a lot of years. Maybe that helps explain why I’ve been so tired recently.
I don’t think I’d have ever been aware of my 20,000th day unless my friend Robert Smith hadn’t written his book, 20,000 Days and Counting. It’s a quick read and very thought provoking.
As I celebrate my 20,000th day, my mind quickly turns to two questions…
#1 What have I done with the days I’ve been given?
I’ve always believed that every day is a gift. Each day brings the same challenge: What will we do with this gift? We can invest or spend; give or take; love or hate; be accountable or wait for someone else to hold us accountable. We can lead or abdicate; fit it or stand out. All of these are our choice. When I don’t make the right choice, I always pray I’ll have another day to do it better.
#2 What will I do with the days I have left?
None of us know how many days we have left. My experience over the last two weeks with my dad brought that into sharp focus. See my post entitled A New Heart if you want to learn more about that experience.
Despite the fragility and uncertainty of life, if we wake up tomorrow, it will be a new day. We can establish new patterns of behavior, change how we use our time and our money, see people differently and treat them differently, we can change our future – one day at a time. As Henry Cloud says, “We are ridiculously in charge.” That’s freeing and challenging. If we don’t like something in our life, we should set about making it better. After all, that is what leaders do – we create the future.
Regarding what I’m going to do with the days I have left, I want to be a person who lives out my purpose and personal core values – not yours, not my company’s, not anyone else’s. I believe I was created to be me; and you were created to be you.
Have you thought about your purpose? Do you have clarity on why you’re on the earth? How about your core values? Do you know what they are? If you decide to wrestle with these questions, and if you prevail by answering them, your life will never be the same.
Once you know why you’re here on earth and you know the values you aspire to live by, you can invest your remaining days, regardless of how many you have, living so that your aspirations become reality.