What do Marcus Aurelius, Buddha and Ferris Bueller have in common? They all understood a fundamental truth – time goes by fast. Marcus Aurelius said it most eloquently using some lovely river analogy. Buddha said it most succinctly, as is Buddha’s style. And Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
Well, he said it most memorably – at least to an awesome ’80s kid like me.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” I remember that line from the movie, but it didn’t really resonate with me until I was older and experienced it myself.
And now every New Year, I think, “Where did the year go?” Weren’t we just ringing in 2019? That thought is usually chased with some sense of regret about what I didn’t do, about not being where I’d hoped I’d be, about realizing the same things I wanted to improve in my life are still there.
It’s like I’ve got a permanent “things to do” list that follows me year after year, hoping one of these years I’ll finally take that big ol’ red Sharpie and cross something off. Maybe this is that year. Maybe not.
But I’ve decided I’m missing the point. Every year I’m lucky enough to circle the sun, I have to spend more time focusing on what I did accomplish, the experiences I had, the things I learned. That’s my big goal for 2020. Not to fixate on what’s undone, but to relish in the life I’m living every day.
In this month’s cover story, we focus on the value of journaling. It sounds simple, and it is. But in the best way. Taking the time on some regular basis (whether it’s daily or weekly) to document what you did, what you thought, how you feel – this can be transformative. What follows can be gratitude for what you have, a sense of accomplishment for what you did and perhaps even a clearer path in tackling some of the goals that have lingered from year to year. For parents, it can be a powerful tool for connecting with your kids and helping them cultivate the importance of taking time to appreciate the day to day, process their emotions and reflect. Life moves pretty fast, as Ferris Bueller cautioned. It’s on us to slow it down.
So go ahead and make those diet and exercise changes. Try to quit smoking or dial down your screen time. Cook more; eat out less. Pick your resolution. But add this to the list – start journaling. A lot of big things can come out of something that seems so small.