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This could go one of two ways

Emma Grey

A friend invited my kids and I over on Saturday night for some supper and a few games of pool.

We met in the group I’m in for young widows and widowers, and our boys are the same age.

We got talking about hypochondria, and how we tend to imagine the worst since going through the loss of someone close. It could really shrink your world — fear, after loss. Life does feel far more precarious than it used to.

But there’s another way it could go, too. Losing someone suddenly can amplify a compulsion to ‘suck the marrow out of life’, while we can. None of us is assured of having even the rest of today.

Where these kinds of thought processes get out of hand is in the assumptions we make that all this ‘carpe diem-ing’ automatically means going at it, a million miles an hour. We assume it means making most of every moment, ‘kicking goals’ and flying higher and further and faster than we ever have.

That only makes sense if we genuinely enjoy living life that fast. ‘Seizing the day’ can just as easily mean sitting under a tree in the backyard, in the dappled light, reading a novel … or just sitting there, not reading, not talking, not doing anything at all.

It’s not the distance we cover that matters. It’s not the speed. It’s not the amount we amass. It’s often the million tiny, immeasurable, incomparable things that mean the most.

When we start to value the time spent sitting still, or relaxing, or watching the people we love doing little things that make them happy, we become more in touch with the myriad mood-enhancing ways that we can live that are entirely free and within our reach.

We can have big goals too, and I have lots of those, but without this strong foundation in the joy of the ‘everyday’, the endless goal-chasing can wear us out, and lead us to question why we’re striving so hard in the first place.

Audrey Thomas and I created a FREE weekly planner for our My 15 Minutes people called the ‘momentum map’. It helps us plan the things we usually leave off our lists, time to connect with people personally, time to disconnect, and five other ‘essentials’ that are so easily pushed beyond our reach by the squeaky wheel of ‘urgent’. Download it here.


Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

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