I’ve been working on this blog for weeks . . . Time Anxiety; the fear that we don’t have enough time to do what we need to do. On a professional level we all feel it on a microscopic level, but as a parent, friend, family member, and human we feel it on a macro level. Do I have enough time to teach my kids to be good humans? Do I have enough time to leave my mark on the world? Do I have enough time on this earth?
I’m not sure how to “attack” the idea of Time Anxiety, and I’m sure this blog will take on many revisions before the one you’re reading. It’s an important topic to me, and one that I think we all deal with at some time in your life.
What is Time Anxiety?
Time anxiety is literally what it says . . . It’s an obsession over spending your TIME in the most meaningful way possible.
In a lot of ways, I think we all have time anxiety on a daily level. There are things we want to accomplish daily. Often we don’t have enough time in the day to finish all our tasks. Literally not enough time. I suppose that’s where the phrase, “there just aren’t enough hours in the day” comes from.
Fact is, we all get the same 24-hours in a day. We have the same number of hours as Bill Gates, The person next to you, or any of the greatest minds in the world.
24 Hours. 1440 Minutes. 86,400 Seconds.
But I’m not talking about the anxiety you get from not completing your daily tasks. I don’t have an answer for you on how to do that, except to say, sleep less, work more, and eat healthier. But that’s not what this blog is about. I definitely not qualified to talk about how to maximize your daily time.
My Friend Allison
My friend Allison passed away January 18, 2020. She ran external PR for my first company when we started it back in 1999. I was only 23 and didn’t know much about PR, so Allison helped get us started. I wouldn’t say that Allison and I were close, but she always “liked” my photos of Kailyn and Me and we messaged back and forth every once in a while and I would consider her a friend.
When I heard Allison passed away, I was sad that I didn’t get to spend more time with her. I think this is a common reaction when you hear of someone passing. For some reason, I was compelled to go to her memorial service and dragged my friend Hannah with me. It was kind of her to accompany me . . . even though she never met Allison.
The service was beautiful. It was at Canyon Ridge Church. It’s strange walking into a memorial service for someone you haven’t seen in a while, surrounded by people you don’t know, mourning someone you ALL knew. I was really glad to be there. During the service, one of her friends talked about Allison’s life. They said she had a love for life and a fierce case of TIME ANXIETY. He went on to describe how Allison never thought she had enough time to do everything she wanted to do with her life. And that stuck with me.
Time. I wrote an entire blog about TIME. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again . . . It’s the most valuable thing you can’t buy, that we all have. We can’t purchase more. We can’t give any to our friend, and we certainly are all creeping towards the end of our own.
In Allison’s case, I think time anxiety is a good thing. It’s the thing that caused her to do better . . . To go further . . . to love deeper . . . to give more. Allison was a civil servant in her most recent years, and a dedicated volunteer. She led her life in a way that made her friends, family, and strangers admire her. She was selfless and caring. And I wish I were able to tell her these traits that I admire so much about her, to her face. But I missed my chance. I ran out of time.
I don’t think I could have verbalized it prior to writing this blog, but my desire to be around people stems from Time Anxiety. I’d like to have as many interactions with the people I care about as I can. I never know when the last goodbye will be the final goodbye. That’s probably why I give good hugs. I want my last interaction with people to be a good one. And a good hug just feels . . . You know? Good. 🙂
I wrote a blog simultaneous to this one about memories . Good memories and bad memories. I think I’m a habitual “memory maker”. much of my thought goes into trying to create memories for my friends. That’s why I always have people over at my house and why I spend money on the things I do. If I look back at my semi reckless spending habits of my life, I think you’ll find that most of the money I spend is to create experiences for my friends.
My backyard was very costly but has created so many memories over the years. I bought a boat a while back because I wanted to take people out and spend the day on the lake. I buy tables at night clubs because I want to be surrounded by my friends and it creates an opportunity to meet a lot more. Trips I’ve taken with friends that I paid for, definitely created memories I’ll cherish forever. And the little things I do for people, like flowers, notes, and other acts of endearment give me much happiness. And I like to think it brings them happiness also.
But I’ve always been aware of the fact that “this time“ could be the “last time”. That’s why I take photos and videos. I wanna remember the times that we have. And in someway, I have habitual time anxiety because I want to make sure that I’m using every moment I have with my friends in a way that is meaningful.
When it comes to my family, my time anxiety comes from not being able to be there for them. I want to be a good brother, uncle, father, and son. I want to fill the patriarchal role I take in our family. Setting a good example for them, and creating experiences for us to share in, is something I enjoy and value. The anxiety over not being able to hold us together tightly, is something I deal with during the holidays, but also throughout the year.
Another facet of time anxiety I get with my family is with my mother (who I know is reading this . . . She’s always been my #1 fan). My time anxiety comes from making sure that I get enough time to spend with her. She’s in the process of moving to Las Vegas, so that should help my time anxiety with this move. But I always feel selfish if there’s a time I should be spending with her that I’m spending with other people. I guess in some ways I have to let that go and realize that I had to only have 24 hours in a day, and I must spread those hours out the best way I know how.
Like any parents, we have time anxiety about our kids. Do we have enough time to give them everything that they need? Are we spending enough time with them? Am I giving my daughter all the tools she needs to be a successful human being? those are just a few of the questions I ask myself every night before I go to bed. I know I only have a finite number of days with her living under my roof, and as a parent we are aware of the fact that someday our kids won’t want to be around us as much anymore. I think time anxiety really kicks in when I realize that my daughter will be off to college and eight years from now. She’s not always going to be that little girl that needs her daddy.
Having my daughter live in a split household with me only half the time, means I only have half the amount of days with her. When she’s living at my home, you’ll usually find I have some activity lined up. I like to take her places, take her out to eat, and show her new things. I take pride in being around for her “firsts” and I like the thought that when she goes back and remembers the first time she did something, she’s with her daddy. But I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t do it for the big smile on her face and the memory it creates for me. Selfishly, I’m trying to fill my time anxiety by creating memories for the both of use. But in the end she benefits as much as I do.
Leave A Legacy
One of the benefits of having time anxiety is that I work so hard to overcome it. One of the things that is always running through my head is that I wanna leave a legacy. A legacy for my family, friends, and for my daughter. I often ask myself what people say about me when I’m gone. Was a good man? A good friend? Was a good father? I picture my memorial service and people standing around talking about me. I
I’ve told my friends and family that I just want to make sure those people are standing around, they’re telling outrageous stories of the times we had. I’d like that day to be a day of celebration where people can talk about how much time anxiety drove me to create experiences that will outlive my body. I don’t wanna leave this earth the same as it was when I arrived. I want to leave a legacy.
Any parent will tell you that their child is the greatest legacy. I do believe this. I’ll tell you that my time anxiety over being a father is the greatest of all the categories I’ve mentioned. I never feel like I have enough time with Kailyn, and always feel like I could do better. If you’re a parent that feels the same way, I think this is a good thing. It’s what drives us to be better.
Time Anxiety Checklist
Here’s a few suggestions on how to deal with, manage, and capitalize on Time Anxiety:
1. Look Forward, Not Backward.
You can’t control anything in the past. It’s is just that . . . The past. But, you CAN control the future. Don’t beat yourself up about things you can’t control. Just make sure that you’re painting the future you want to live in.
2. Go The Extra Mile.
Sometimes I’m tired and out of energy. Sometimes I just want to stay at home and eat dinner, watching TV, and fall asleep. But then my time anxiety kicks in and I realize that I don’t want to miss an opportunity to be around my friends, family, or Kailyn. Go the extra mile. If you’ve got it in you (and sometimes we don’t), make that memory. You’ll remember that experience. You’ll never remember the night you stayed in.
3. Go The Distance.
Once you commit to creating memories and experiences with those around you, go the distance. Don’t do anything half-assed.Let Go of The Guilt. I’m not suggesting that you go out of your way every day to create experiences and memories for people. Sometimes you need to let your batteries recharge and get some alone time. Along time is especially important for introverted people. The same way I said go the extra mile, if you don’t have it in you, let go of the guilt.
4. Don’t Let What You THINK You Should Do, Stop You From What You KNOW You Should Do.
There are so many times that I can convince myself not to do something. Even though I know it’s something I should do. Whether it’s a dinner, an outing, a trip, a call, or a hug, I typically know what I should be doing. Don’t let your mind or outside influences like life, stop you from doing what you know you should do.
5. Make It Count.
I mentioned above how important each encounter with people is to me. I want to make every encounter count so that if it’s my last, it counted.
6. Dive In Head-First, Wholeheartedly.
I like to think that every minute I spend with my friends is maximized to his full potential. As with everything else in my life, when I’m in, I’m in. I dive in headfirst and put my heart and everything that I do. This passion for cultivating relationships is one of the traits that I value most in myself. I love with all my heart and I connect everything my mind can muster.
7. It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint.
Overcoming time anxiety doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a series of small decisions and moves, over a long period of time. You don’t need to do it all at once and your shouldn’t feel pressured to do it. Keep your eye on the prize and play the “long game”.
8. Speak Up.
Don’t be embarrassed to speak up and tell people while you’re doing what you’re doing. Everyone has time anxiety and everyone wants to be remembered. Sometimes I need to tell people why it’s important for me to spend time with them. A good reminder every once in a while that you are loved and that you love others isn’t a bad thing after all.
9. Never Forget.
I left this for last because it something I need to remind myself. In my younger days I felt invincible. Like I was going to live forever. As I get older I realize my days are limited and I only have a certain amount of time on this earth. As I turn 44 this year, I realize that I’m on the “back nine”. I’ve lived my life that I will live moving forward. And that’s a scary thought it only increases my time anxiety.
Don’t Leave Any Cards On The Table.
I can’t remember what movie it was where I heard this quote, “Life looks much different on the way in, than it does on the way out”. I guess this explains why I look at life so much differently than I did when I was 20, and why being around people is even more important to me now than it has and why being around people is even more important to me now than it was in the past.
I want to circle back to Allison’s memorial service where I started thinking about time anxiety. I loved that she lived her life with time anxiety which caused her to live her life to the fullest. In someway, I’d love to model my life in that same way. I want to make sure that every minute I have an earth is spent in a way that leaves a legacy. With that legacy is for my friends, family, or Kailyn, I’m OK with any of those. I want to be in countless stories that are told after I’m long gone.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. The topic is some thing that is very near and dear to me, and it explains a lot of why I do what I do in my life. I hope that all of you will have a story to tell about us. And I hope my time anxiety will help create many many more.