I’m done measuring my life in years. I read the title of some book in the bookstore about counting your life in days and now I’m obsessed with managing the days of my life. Today is 16,007 and day 16,008 is fast approaching. I should probably buy the book and read it. It probably would have given me some way to plan, organize and set solid goals for the future. I probably wouldn’t be stressing over the concept as much. But for now I just keep thinking that I have lived 16,007 days and have very little success that has been built by my hands.
That’s not say I haven’t built anything successful. I have helped build some great things. I helped build five little kids. I wasn’t much help after that. I contributed little to the building of their lives. That heavy construction was taken on by a wife on whom the sun rises and sets. Outside of that I’ve struggled to build anything of great reputation. Oh, I’ve talked about better days. I talked about doing big things. Really big things. I convinced myself that big days were coming. One day. Someday. I never said the exact day. Maybe I should have. I should have said, “On day 7,665 I’m going to finish college.” “On day 9,125 I will have completed my Master’s Degree and will be moving up in the company.” “Then on day 10,950 I’ll be making six figures and be able to take my family on a great vacation to Disney World.” “Day 20,075 will come and I’ll retire from the day job to take consulting gigs and enjoy my kids getting married and having my grandchildren.” I think I should have planned it that way. I would wrap it all up on day 36,500. I’ll be in my rocking chair on the front porch holding my wife’s hand.
My family needed me to number my days. My wife pleaded with me to number them. To plan more. To provide more. To pursue more. It took me until day 14,182 to start numbering them. That was the day my wife told me she couldn’t do it anymore by herself. Up to that point we had been married for 6,570 days. I had only spent 1,000 quality days actually together with an amazing person. Many days I was there in the same house with her but it was still a wasted day. I wasted a lot of days like that. Just as pathetic was the lack of quality days with my kids. Maybe I got in 200? How sad is that? It was my fault. Incredibly she loved me for (almost) every one of those days. I know she didn’t like me very much.
With her ultimatum, I got busy. I’ve made progress. The last 1,700 days have been completely different. We have spent 1,473 quality days together. The kids finally got a dad plugged in almost every day. It only took 1,460 to 5,110 days depending on their age for them to get a better dad.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t had some bad days. On day 14,665 I was diagnosed with a thyroid issue. On day 15,870 I developed another huge health issue. It may not shorten my days but it sure will take some pleasure out of them. I know there are more bad days coming. But there are going to be thousands of better days.
No matter what happens, I live under no illusion – my days are numbered. So are yours. We don’t know the number. But there’s a number. I hope mine is 36,500. But I’m going to live the rest of my life with huge plans for those days that are left. This time with purpose. This time with conviction. This time with a drive to grow and contribute to those I love. I do not want to look back from day 32,014 and regret any day past day 16,008.
Today, day 16,007, I think back on all those wasted days. I literally wasted thousands of days. I gave them away. Took no thought to the days I’d been given. Never thought there might only be 16,008. Steve Jobs counted his days. Many heroes that died young counted their days. They knew they had limited days to accomplish much. I’ve been given many days and accomplished little. Not any longer.
How many days have you lived? How many days do you have left to live? Who know? I don’t know my number. Nobody knows the exact number. Quite frankly, I’m glad I don’t know that number. I’m now planning my life with a specific number in my mind. I have 20,000 more days. Plenty of days left to accomplish great things. That’s more days than I’ve lived so far. If everything goes according to plan. But there is a plan. There was nothing before. So nothing got accomplished.
Here’s the greatest thing. Even if I live only 365 more days I will have accomplished more than my first 16,007 days on earth. I hope you have not had to live thousands of wasted days to figure this out like I did and start numbering them. But I guarantee you this – whenever that last day comes and you haven’t been numbering them, you will wish you had one more day.
President & CEO
Midway Transformation Inc
A Human Potential and Performance Consulting Company