“Time is All You Have and You May Find One Day that You Have Less Than You Think.”

Randy Pausch, 1960-2008

I was well into my mid-twenties when I first read Randy Pausch’s book, “The Last Lecture.” I remember the feeling I had as I read this man’s final words, almost as an eerie warning. It was as though he was me speaking to my younger self telling me to put away the meaningless worries in exchange for time to make the most of today.

Before leaving behind his wife and children, Randy took the time to share one last word and I was listening. The message that I received was simple; stop wasting meaningless time waiting on hold on the phone or for something really good to happen and embrace the quality time you have with those right in front of you. By this time, I had lost my mom to cancer and this message was real life for me. I knew I couldn’t get that time back and I wasn’t about to wait for life to get really good after retirement.

The Two-Day (Today) Rule!

Now as a husband and father, I embrace the mindful moments I have with my loved ones with the realization that we don’t live forever, this side of heaven. I want to mindfully enjoy my time with my family while we are still together. However, in the day to day we can easily find ourselves feeling frustrated, discontent, overly busy and worrying about things that in the grand scheme of life don’t really matter much at all. This led me to create a simple and concrete way to measure whether circumstance are worth the concern or fuss. If, in two days I will not be thinking about the circumstance then it simply is not worth my time today. In-turn, I want back my time and to remain present in the mindful moment I am in. This is a conscious choice that involves evaluating the situation and choosing people over problems. Now, in the event that the circumstance is of greater scale and two days from now I am still dealing with the effects, then it is worth my attention and my time. I would love to hear some of your examples of items that don’t make the Two-Day (Today) Rule that may include: running late to the social gathering when an apology is not enough, not vacuuming the house before company arrives, finding crumbs on the couch, unmade beds and a host of daily examples simply worth letting go.

Since devising this simple strategy my family and I have begun literally laughing at what would have in the past led to an argument or further frustration and wasted energy. I find it interesting that with the launch of the very first iPhone, also came Pausch’s last lecture. This sobering reminder to be present with our loved ones amidst almost constant reminders and what seems like endless notifications is a true call to prioritize our time and to give and receive love while we are still together.

Lastly, the counselor in me longs to peel back the layers and expose my true attempt at vying for certainty or control. Let’s turn those in, too, and enjoy the moment and live abundantly with faith knowing that tomorrow is not promised and I now have the opportunity to decide how I will spend my time today. Try the Two-Day (Today) Rule for yourself and see how much time you get back to simply enjoy today.