Have you ever arrived at the gate just as they were closing the door and the plane was beginning to back away? I’ve only had it happen once and I still clearly remember a fear I felt that was so overwhelming it motivated me to make sure it never happened again: no matter what!
I honestly believe that society has programmed us to fear those kind of moments as the most painful ‘missing out’ experiences we can have. Deadlines don’t cause death if missed, but sometimes we persuade ourselves that it’s almost as bad. Those that want us to act in a certain way invent imaginary obstacles, slamming doors and loud buzzers to remind us on a regular basis that we’re always just missing out. As a result and over time, the fear of missing out causes us to wait for the signals (most of which come through out smart phone), prioritizing our lives around the next urgency.
When everything is focused on the deadline, there’s little time to work on the things that are actually important. When we build our lives around ‘what’s due,’ we sacrifice ourselves to the priorities and urgencies of everyone else and when we do that, we miss the biggest issue of all, which is that time is running out!
Running out for all the things we might want to experience and not just the ones that are about to leave the gate. Running out for us to connect or to be generous to someone who really needs us. Running out for us to become the person we’d like to be. Running out for us to make the difference we’d like to make. Running out for us to produce the work we know we’re capable of.
I’m starting to realize that time isn’t measured by an hourglass anymore. It’s measured by the blink of an eye. Let’s set our own alarms and deadlines.
Better yet, let’s work towards a time when we don’t have to set them at all!