I have to swallow hard when I refer to the song, “100 Years” by Vladimir John Ondrasik III, known by his stage name, “Five for Fighting,” as an “oldie.”
I mean, after all, a song released in 2003 should not fall in that category; it’s a description meant for The Everly Brothers or The Beach Boys. Nonetheless, if the Earth Shoe fits…
Sorry, I got distracted… back to the issue at hand…
If you don’t have it cued up on your iTunes playlist right now, let me sum it up. Each of us gets 100 years to live, and during that period we go through various stages. The poignant lingering lyrics guide us through those times, beginning at 15 (“There’s still time for you…”) and progressing all the way to 99 (“Time for just another moment…”). So poignant are the words that there’s a webpage to discuss the interpretation. (I don’t make any commission on its purchase nor am I affiliated with Mr. Ondrasik, but it’s worth your time to check out the song.)
My interpretation is that each of us given the gift of one century, which passes in the “blink of an eye.”
So, imagine you live exactly, to the day, 100 years. (In my case, that would mean I exit on September 28, 2054.) Take it to your last day and then back it off to one day before you’re gone; see yourself at 99 years, 364 days old. By sunset tomorrow, you will be no more; you have gathered all the knowledge and wisdom possible in this lifetime. You are completed.
Now suppose that 99-year-old-You could send a message back to the Current-You, right here, right now, reading these words.
Suppose All-Knowledgeable-You could tell Current-You what to focus on for the remainder of your life. He or she would say to you, “The most important things to remember for the rest of your days are…”
What would she tell you? Would it be, “Work more” or “Buy lots more stuff you’ll need to dust”? Might the sage advice be, “Get upset over small things more often,” or “Put off joy until it’s too late”?
Granted, I’m not 99, but I’m thinking not. As a matter of fact, I’ve conducted this activity with literally thousands of folks, and with the exception of some bozo who said the most critical things were “a hot chick and a red Ferrari,” every other person has responded that the most important things to remember in life are, in no particular order:
- Friends and family
- Laughing and smiling more often
- Belief in oneself and/or a greater power
- Loving more deeply
- Giving back to society
You might detect a theme, but in case you haven’t had your morning coffee, let me lay it out for you. No matter who we are, nor where we live, nor how many years we’ve been cruising around ol’ Terra Firma, we understand on a soul-level that what will matter most in the end is how we lived and how we treated others. It’s certainly not our job title, model of our car, nor how many inches diagonally measured was our television. We all recognize what matters “big picture.”
It’s just that in the day-to-day muck, we sometimes forget.
My suggestion to the people in my presentations (and to you and me) is to write down your top three in bold marker. Put it on your desk, near your mirror, by your dresser; or anywhere where you will see it regularly. Every day, ask yourself, “What’s one small thing I can do to move toward these goals TODAY?”
Then do it. You will feel younger.
Visit thistimeimeanit.com/home/downloads for a free copy of the handout he uses in this activity.