A few weeks ago I was watching Bishop T.D. Jakes speak on Super Soul Sunday about living your life with purpose. About half way through the show he said something that hit me right upside the head. He said, “Everything in life is replaceable except time.” We can replace our homes, our cars, our money—anything—but we can’t replace time.
I know this, I’ve heard people say that same thing in a different way, and I’ve even said to myself after a situation that I’ve felt was time wasted, “Well, there’s two hours I’ll never get back.” I’ve never thought about how I use or waste time with such conviction as when T.D. Jakes made that comment. Maybe it’s because I’m finally living with purpose. Maybe it was simply the timing. Maybe I just opened my heart and my ears opened with it. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I think of that statement as soon as I wake up in the morning, and at least three times throughout each day—and I make sure I’m using all of my time wisely.
We all live busy lives, and many of us find ourselves saying, I don’t have time to start eating healthier, I don’t have time to exercise, I’ll learn to play the piano when I have more time, I’ll go back to school when I have more time, or I’ll follow my dreams when I have more time. Life happens, and will continue to happen. There are 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 52 weeks in a year. T.D. Jakes, Oprah, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs (God rest his soul) have (had) the same number of minutes in a day as we do—look what they were able to accomplish. They recognized their purpose and made the time to live their purpose.
I’m not saying you should strive to be a superstar (unless that’s your purpose), I’m saying make the time NOW to follow your dream, to live your life, your way, in the best way possible—right NOW.
I spent 18 years working in a career that wasn’t my life purpose. I was dying inside, but I stayed. I made excuse after excuse: I spent time and money on my education to gain these specific skills, I just got married, we just bought a house, and the list goes on.
Finally at the age of 36, I took a leap of faith and I went back to school for journalism—full time while I was working full time—I made the time. Two years later I was laid off—this was one of the scariest moments of my life. I have not been without a job since I was 11 years old. But, this gave me the space to follow my purpose and I’ve never been more at peace than I am now. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been an emotional roller coaster. Some days are pretty tough to get through, but I get through them, I learn from them, and I move forward, and I move up.
Julia Cameron says in her book The Artist’s Way about encouraging people to follow their creative dream, “When I make this point in teaching, I am met by instant, defensive hostility: ‘But do you know how old I will be by the time I learn to really play the piano/act/paint/write a decent play?’ Yes…the same age you will be if you don’t. So Let’s start.”
Each morning remind yourself that everything is replaceable except time, and day after day, pay attention to how your thoughts and actions automatically begin to shift. You can’t get the minutes, hours, days, or weeks, back, so use them well, and use them wisely.