10 Ways of Shorting Your Own Life

Mary Lloyd

Mary Lloyd

 It’s very easy to let life pass by while you are waiting for the “good stuff. “  A good life isn’t about winning the Powerball jackpot.  It’s about noticing all the little pluses that happen every day. 

Here—with absolutely no deference to David Letterman’s top 10 lists—are ten ways to miss out on your own life: 

1.        I will be happy when…. 

The current focus on goals might be good for getting you motivated to achieve certain, specific things, but it has one big downside—you forget to savor what you already have because of what you’re working toward.  Even worse is to just wish for things without taking any action whatsoever.  If you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen—and you miss the magic in today in the meantime.  If you’re spending your todays marking time for your tomorrows, you’re squandering your life. 

2.        Being so busy you don’t realize what you are doing. 

There are times when life is on fast forward and just getting everything done is a gargantuan challenge.  Try to minimize those times.  When you can’t, at least take a few seconds to notice what you’re doing every once in a while.  

3.        Erasing yourself.

Even if your life is crazy busy, there are ways to be who you are at the same time.  Sing along to a favorite song on the radio or savor the sunset as you drive home from work (finally).

 4.        Not spending time on what you want.

Okay, you don’t have time to write that novel this year.  Write something.  Or maybe you want to learn to play tennis but don’t have time (or maybe money) for lessons.  Start by learning all you can from a book.  The key isn’t spending a lot of time at it; it’s spending some time at it—every day. 

5.        Forgetting the importance of what you’re doing.

When your days are taken up with a loved one’s doctors’ appointments or the demands of a newborn, it can start to feel like slavery.  Remind yourself of what made you commit to doing what you are doing. 

6.        Obsessing about what other people are doing—or not doing.

Focusing on the wrongness of other people’s behavior is an incredible waste of time, energy, and life.  Focus on what you can do to make your own life work well instead.  (And that task is not something like “Get Mom to stop doing… whatever.”) 

7.        Waiting for someone else to do it for you.

“My life will work when my husband gives me better self-esteem by paying attention to me.”  Even if he wanted to, dishing up self-esteem for someone else is impossible.  You get self esteem by thinking better of yourself, not by having someone else build you up.  Most of what we need in life is up to us to find or create.  Delegating any of it to someone else instead if getting on with it yourself is futile. 

8.        Not accepting what is.

Life doesn’t come prepackaged in the flavor you prefer.  Learn to get the most out of whatever is happening.  That starts with accepting what is actually going on. 

9.        Worrying about the “small stuff.”

Expecting every little thing to be the way you think it should be is just a naïve attempt at unattainable control.  Not everything is going to go right.  To live happy now, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” 

10.   Assuming that once you retire, none of this matters.

In reality, everything matters more once you retire.  It’s not the end, it’s the beginning.  But it’s up to you to make something of it.  Life is not over when you stop working.  It’s different.  Figure out the best version for you.  Too often, we walk into retirement thinking there’s nothing left but puttering.  What an incredible waste of 20 to 30 years. 

Life is short.  Notice it.  Savor it.  Live every moment. 


Mary Lloyd is a speaker and consultant and author of Supercharged Retirement:  Ditch the Rocking Chair, Trash the Remote, and Do What You Love.  Her recently released e-book 39 Bites of Wisdom:  Little Lessons on Getting Life Right is available on Kindle.  For more, please see her website www.mining-silver.com.



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  1. yourmama@yahoo.com says

    not short enough!

  2. Great article Mary! Best of luck with your new book.
    ~Cate & Dieter

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