I’m sure you’ve heard it said that there is wisdom in numbering your days.
But have you ever numbered your minutes?
In less than three weeks, a ten-year chapter of my life will close. When I sat down and did the math, that’s 5,256,000 minutes of my life. Think about that for a second, five million minutes. And more than 1,200,000 of those minutes have been spent at work—one-point-two million minutes.
It’s overwhelming to think about it.
As I process my resignation and the beginning of a new season, it’s been harder than I thought. But the difficulty hasn’t been the fear of the future. The difficulty has been in questioning the past. As I look back on my ten-year career in insurance, I can’t help but wonder if those 1,200,000 minutes were well spent.
Each day for the past ten years I’ve gone into an office—an office surrounded by familiar people completing familiar tasks. In the moment, it all seemed mundane—the hellos, the phone calls, the office birthday parties, the weekly meetings and the sales reports. After ten years, I had all but convinced myself that it was too simple to be meaningful.
But today I’m reminded of the danger in proximity—the things that are closest to us will become a curse if we let them. Whether it’s our job, our marriages or our friendships, we tend to resent the things closest to us.
Over the past ten years, there were times when I failed to appreciate the magnificent in each moment and the opportunity in the familiar. But as I look back, it’s the familiar that I will miss the most. I’ll miss the casual talks with coworkers, the jokes and the unspoken camaraderie. I’ll miss helping a client when they needed it most and walking them to the door when our meeting was over. In short, I’ll miss the people.
For years I convinced myself that I was terrified to leave Farm Bureau because I didn’t know what to expect. The truth is, I was terrified to leave because of what I had quietly grown to love.
I can’t tell you why we resent the things that are closest to us. It’s sad, really. But I think it’s because we fail to remember that the familiar prepares us to step in to new territory. It’s the familiar that teaches us.
The familiar, everyday moments help us realize who we are, who we aren’t and propel us toward our true self.
Run Toward Something
I spent years believing that I was supposed to run away from something—that what I had was somehow unimportant or insignificant. In reality, my perspective needed to change. I wasn’t ready to leave until I became truly grateful for what I had.
You and I were born to run. But our running needs to be toward something, not away from it. In fact, we can only run with perseverance when we’re running toward who we were created to be. All other efforts are in vain. Our familiar moments and familiar people are preparing us for our race—they’re empowering us to chase our dreams, not run from our reality.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned over the past ten years is that discontentment causes us to reject the moment for some far off destination. But the truth is, those moments are leading us if we let them. The resentable, forgetful moments are teaching us.
The problem is, we’re so busy running from something that we forget what we’re running toward.
A New Season
For years, there was a subtle part of me that had a grandiose vision of becoming an author and leaving my simple life behind. But the truth is, if I was going to write about finding a rich life in the ordinary, simply things, I had to live it out—for real.
The past ten years have been an incredible season. More than 1,200,000 minutes have combined to teach me countless lessons about life and people and pursuing a dream. But I had to slow down to actually appreciate those minutes before I’d ever be able to learn from them.
There’s a lot of beauty in the familiar if you slow down long enough to appreciate it. When you do, it will propel you toward your best self.
So today, whether it’s your job, your family or your relationships, don’t neglect the moments. Preparation for who you are becoming will begin in the 1,440 minutes you’re given today.
Use them well.