January 15, 2013

30,000 Days of Life

For the last week, my free time has been consumed with a lot of research on buying a house – speaking with realtors, touring houses, building financial analysis models, and applying for loan prequalifications. How crazy is it that I’m at a point in my life to think about that stuff?! I remember hearing terms like “mortgage” and “escrow” as a kid and just knowing they were things that grownups didn’t like, but not having any idea what they meant. Now, I know way more than I ever wanted to know about variable vs fixed rate mortgages, how to calculate internal rate of return on an investment, and other very adult topics to discuss at the sophisticated dinner parties I apparently need to start having. When did I grow up?? I missed that memo.

This morning, I read a really interesting article this morning by Ari Meisel about efficiency – How Much Less Should You Do? In it, Meisel discusses the philosophy of Sir Ray Avery and how he looks at everything as a portion of the days of our life. If we are given 30,000 days of life when we are born, how many days are you spending on the things that are really important to you? Going to college is 1,460 days; raising a child is 6,500 days; taking a job that requires 10 years to make partner is 3,650 days. Counting every single weekend of the two year time period, it took me only 106 days to reach my goal of running a marathon in every state – what a paltry amount compared to other things that are equally important to me!

Whenever I travel, I struggle with being away from home. On Sundays/Mondays, when I’m preparing to leave New York and know that I won’t get home for a while, I’m always a little bit mad at myself for making these plans that take me away. What was I thinking? Is this trip a waste of time and should I just come home instead? I have to actively remind myself that I love both traveling and marathoning, and that this trip will not be one that I regret. (In fact, I cannot think of a single trip I’ve taken that I regret.)

Photo Credit: Clarissa Peterson

I’m thrilled that I’ve made such wonderful friends in Dallas that being down here doesn’t feel like wasted time at all. Sunday night, I’ll admit that I wasn’t psyched to be going away from home – but I was fervently looking forward to seeing my Dallas friends and making use of our weeknights together. I think it’s all about finding a balance between the many ways to spend your time… but most importantly, being sure to spend that time consciously.

I’m headed to Charleston, South Carolina this weekend – planning to catch up with an old friend who recently moved there, stuff our faces with shrimp and grits, and run the Charleston Marathon. The three days I will be away are very little time in the grand scheme of things, and I’m so glad that I have the opportunity to take a trip like this. Prioritizing one activity over another is never easy (especially when there are so many fantastic options), and with my job taking me away from home four days a week, I feel like I start out of the gate with even less time than others. But all I can do is try my best to make it work – and I’m reasonably happy with how I’m doing so far.


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