The mystery of time

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” Charles Darwin, The Life & Letters of Charles Darwin

Well, we’re nearly there — the end of another (frantic) year.

How much of it do you remember?

Not much, I don’t suspect, save the highs or lows; our mind is clever at blotting out the drudgery.

What’s the plan for 2017?

Much the same as 2016 or don’t you care? After all, how much control do we really have?

Think about it.

No, I mean think about all the choices you’ve made over the course of the last year. Where did the impulse come from to pursue one thing as opposed to another? You might think you’re possessed of free will but I think it’s more complex than you think.

That being so, is there any point planning for 2017? Not really. Actually, that’s not quite true. I’d at least consider where my attention has previously gone, my (bad) habits and those things I’ve ignored these past months.

Of course, you could put together another list but you and I know that you’ll fall at the first hurdle. Instead, I’d pick one of two big things to focus on, and look to do the smallest thing you can each and every day in pursuit of said objective.

If you’re stuck on knowing what to pick, here’s a few to mull over:

  1. Increase the amount of time you sleep or better still go to bed earlier and get up earlier — you’ll be amazed how it can change your life;
  2. Increase the amount of water you drink — I’m blessed in Devon to have beautiful water but if you have to buy it, so be it;
  3. Increase the amount of exercise you take — a brisk walk at lunchtime is far better than those once-in-a-while, painful gym sessions;
  4. Increase the amount you read that’s non-work related — writers such as David Foster Wallace, Steven Pressfield and Charles Dickens might not be your cup of tea, but you’ll learn a lot from their writing;
  5. Increase the amount of time you spend with your children, your partner and your friends;
  6. Decrease the amount of red meat you eat — it’s bad for you and the planet;
  7. Decrease the amount of time you spend on your mobile phone;
  8. Decrease the amount of time you spend sitting at a desk;
  9. Decrease your caffeine intake; and
  10. Decrease the amount of time trying to please everyone — me time is key.

In suggesting these few things, I’m not trying to be prescriptive but merely putting them forward for your consideration. You may have slew of things that you need to crack, not least your career, financial affairs and having more fun but all I’m saying is that it’s better to have one or two major topics than to build a long list of well-meaning goals that you never get close to achieving.

If all of that seems way too hard, then you might adopt my practice, which amounts now to saying no to everything and anything that doesn’t take me in the direction of a simple, minimalist life. This practice — if you can call it that — isn’t just for fun or to make me look clever, but part of my focus on later life to have the freedom to travel without having to worry about more than a very few things — e.g. money, kids and health. Yes, I might only be 49, but I’m not leaving to chance how I’ll live the last decade or so of my (our) life. It’s not that I’ve got some urge to down tools, sell up and go on the road, but I do have a very strong desire to explore all those parts of Great Britain, Europe and farther afield that I’ve spent way too long thinking about and doing nothing to see.

Anyhow, have a brilliant New Year; see you on the other side.

Note. Sorry to repeat myself, but my schedule for 2017 will see me podcast and blog once a week and that’s it. The rest of the time I’ll be working, studying and writing.