A few weeks ago, my twins turned seventeen. Like every other birthday, I got up early and decorated the house with streamers and balloons. Then, I made a Starbucks run, grabbed their favorite drinks, and we snuck in a quick breakfast at home before they left to go to school.
When everyone was gone, and I sat down to do my morning journaling, it hit me like a 10-ton heavy thing: this is the second-to-the-last birthday where I will have both of them at home. They’re juniors, and as they prepare to start their senior year of high school, things are about to get real. My kids are on the launchpad now, getting ready for their liftoff. Time’s ticking – and it isn’t on my side.
One of the reasons this hit me so hard is how I heard Jesse Itzler explain his relationship with time a few years ago. You’ve read my past take on Jesse’s Misogi Challenge, and his insights on time are just as impactful.
Using Itzler’s example, say your parents are in their 80s. You might think you have five or six more years with them, which can seem like a long time. But consider this. If you see them twice a year, that means you will spend time with them 10-12 more times in your lifetime. Time’s ticking… and it’s not on your side.
When this concept sinks in, you’ll experience one of two reactions. First, you may think it’s depressing and want to ignore it, like if you don’t think about it, it will go away. It won’t, by the way. Or, this concept of time might challenge you to make the most of every opportunity, even looking for ways to add more opportunities where you can.
As I think about my twins and look out toward the year ahead, I am in the opportunity business. I’d say the same thing about my 83-year-old mom. Time’s ticking, and it’s not on my side. I’m hustling to make the most of every minute.
I wish I had adopted this mindset years ago. Specifically, I wish I had approached the relationship with my dad through this lens. In Sept of 2007, he invited me to a Minnesota Twins game. I assumed we had years ahead for us to catch up with one another, so I passed. I told him I was busy. I was burying him in the ground a month later after an unexpected heart attack.
Let that sink in for a minute, and remember it the next time you tell someone you’re too busy to catch up or spend time together. Time’s ticking, and it’s not on your side.
Time’s ticking. No matter how we try to ignore it or lie to ourselves that tomorrow is guaranteed, it doesn’t stop. We can’t even slow it down. All we can do is make the most of every moment and add more opportunities to do the things we love with the people we love. That’s the real Tick-Tock.
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