What Will You Do With Your One Precious Life?

“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

You’ve probably read that quote before; maybe it even inspired you…for a moment. Did it actually change anything in your life though? Did it spur you to action or have you commit fully to a dream?

I didn’t think so. Me neither.

And yet? I love that quote, which is actually the last line of this poem.

The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Maybe I’m quirky, but it’s the second last line that inspires me, “Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?”

The idea that my life is precious appeals to me, but it’s the reminder that everything dies “and too soon” that inspires me to action.

Consider that you don’t often do what it takes to honour that one wild and precious life. You don’t, and it’s time to tell the truth about that.

You talk about it. A lot.

You make promises and New Year’s resolutions, you join programs and support groups, spend money and waste time.

Now, until I’m on the other side and can share my perspective from the afterlife, I’m pretty sure this life? Is all you’ve got. Right here. Right now. This is it.

It’s not a practice life either.

This. Is. It.

But when you think of your life, doesn’t it seem infinite, like you have all the time in the world?

Except, you don’t.

You could read that as a gloom-and-doom kind of statement, but my intention is to startle you into action in whatever area of life you’ve been saying is important to you.

Ready for the math?

I’m 47 years old

I’ll probably live till my 80’s (thanks to family history and great genes!)

That’s another 40 years, give or take

40 years x 52 weeks/year = 2,080 weeks x 7 days/week = 14,560 days x 24 hours = 349,440 hours

349,440 hours

Approximately 349,440 hours left in my lifetime. A finite number that decreases by 24 hours.

Every. Single. Day.

No one and no day is exempt. 24 hours get used up and subtracted every day.

That causes a shift in perspective. It’s no longer, “wow, I have a lifetime, lots of time, some day I’ll do those things. . .”

It’s now a finite number that makes life suddenly seem so much more precious.

I’ve spent years talking about some of my dreams and you know what they say – talk is cheap. But not when you take into consideration how many hours you’ve spent talking and not doing anything about your dreams.

When I think of someday? I feel sad, hopeless, and disappointed in myself and all the times I didn’t keep my word to my dreams.

When I think of 349,440 hours however, I’m inspired. The thought of those hours has lead me to:

  • run a half marathon
  • pursue my passion for photography
  • commit to a relationship and marry at 46
  • get trained as a coach and launch Deva Coaching
  • create and lead a successful business building program

That infinite, vague, someday life worked against me. It lulled me into thinking I had lots of time.

I don’t. And neither do you.

I have roughly 349,440 hours to use up in the next 40 years, and that makes choosing how I spend those hours much more important.

After reading Linchpin, the blinders came off and I had my own moment of truth. I’d been talking about writing for years. Let’s say a year and a half spent talking to my writers’ group once a month about how much I wanted to write.

2 hours once a month x 18 months = 36 hours I spent talking about writing, but not actually writing

36 hours I can never get back.

Then? Add all the hours I spent thinking about it, wanting it and reading books about it (unknown quantity, but lots) Now, add the 2 years (that’s 17,472 hours) that went by from the day I created the template for this blog to the day I actually launched it.

17,508 hours gone

Thinking of it in terms of hours I have vs. a lifetime has made a profound difference for me. It has called me into action in such a way that my coaching has improved, my income has increased and my creativity has skyrocketed!

I don’t want to go to bed at night. I can’t wait to get up in the morning. I look forward to talking to people, sharing ideas and energy, creating from the most abundant space I’ve ever experienced. Partners, opportunities, and even money coming my way, sometimes unpredictably.

I hope this is getting across because I don’t really know how to talk about it yet.

Here’s what I do know:

  • Setting and meeting goals is becoming effortless vs. driven, and the goals are coming from my heart
  • Taking actions consistently is becoming natural, especially with the writing
  • The energy I used to spend strategizing, making things happen (and sometimes obsessing) is fading into the background

Which leaves a lot more time and energy for creativity and inspiration!

Those 349,440 hours inspire me.

Pardon me. . .349,416 by the time you read this. And 349,492 the day after that.

I have a lot I want to do with those hours. They are now extremely precious. And so they should be to you (I know I’m using “should.” It’s intentional!)

Your hours, however many you’ve been given in your life – they’re finite and ticking down every day. Consider the following questions:

Who are you spending your time with?

What would be worth giving your time for?

What would you love to be spending your time on?

And if not now, when will you do that?

Wake up.

Your dreams are longing to be expressed, yearning for you to honour them with action.

How many hours do you have to spend and what will you to do with them?

Do the math and get back to me.