As we start a new season, it’s a perfect time to look forward—and backward—and think about how we spend our time. Are we happy? Are we making time for joy and for family and friends? Do we like our job? In times as chaotic as what we’re living in now, there’s great advice from Linda Ellis in her poem, The Dash:
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end. He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years. For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth. For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash. So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged. To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before. If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while. So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?
By Linda Ellis, Copyright © 2020 Inspire Kindness, thedashpoem.com
So how are we living our dash? Are we making the best of our life, or simply making ends meet? What are we doing to brighten others’ lives? Often, that’s how we brighten our own. Are we so wrapped up in busyness that we’re not smelling the roses or appreciating those closest to us? Are we making time to do what we love, or do we need to find a new hobby—something that brings us great joy?
For my regular readers—those who have passions they can’t live without—you know the value of time away from the routine and getting lost in fun. Whether you’ve attended one of my workshops or retreats, you know the value of projects or hobbies and doing something you love with old friends and new.
You also know the value of learning new skills or hobbies. Remember when you learned how to manage photos in the digital world? Challenging at first, but a lifesaver as you developed the skills.
You also know how much loved ones value the photo collections or displays you’ve created for them, your gifts of the heart. Again, gifts that are as fun to create as they are to give. These are great ways to live the dash.
Or maybe you spent retreat time catching up on paperwork and escaping the everyday while enjoying friends. What a great way to put delight in your drudgery.
This fall, resolve to savor your friends, family, and passions. Many are changing careers now to do just that. So, move from mundane to marvelous, and see how you fill your dash. I’ll be offering many great opportunities to do just that in my new STUDIOescape™. Hope you’ll join us.
Meanwhile, don’t just take the poem’s word for it, here’s what other notables have said about living a life well:
“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” - Eleanor Roosevelt
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” - Anne Frank
“Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.” - Danny Kaye
Happy Fall. Hope to see you soon at our STUDIOescape™—making the most of your life.