Devoting your time to things that last

You don't have to do everything. Spend your time on these four things that last.

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  • Our lives go too fast. We make decisions on how to spend our time without even thinking — online, wireless and in 4G. But no one wants to look down from heaven and hear a loved one eulogize that: She had hundreds of Facebook friends. Or he checked his phone all the time. But what if you could have deathbed perspective without the near-death part? Launch yourself into an out-of-this world mindset where you rid your life of the non-essentials and dig-in on the four things that last.

  • Spend your life creating rose-colored glasses

  • Let's face it: Life hands us stuff we never would have ordered. Miscarriages. Car accidents. Health diagnoses. Layoffs. Divorce. You get the picture. But regardless of what experiences you've been handed — spend time cultivating a healthy perspective on your experiences. Grieve for your losses, then look for the things you can learn (and have learned) from each experience. Think of the people who have helped you through. Think of how you can now help people who are now where you once were. When we begin a daily practice of giving the benefit of the doubt, forgiving and letting go of outcomes by turning our lives over to God, then you train your brain to look for the glimmers of goodness without even thinking. And you keep up your bright-side perspective well into the dementia years by practicing daily.

  • Spend your life filling your mind

  • Look back on your life. Think of your accomplishments. Consider all the knowledge and wisdom you have garnered because of your years of formal education. Because of the time you spent learning a trade or because of the communication class you took with your spouse. Live your life in such a way that you spend time daily learning something new. Maybe you learn to rollerblade. Maybe you learn to ask your children to do their homework in a kinder way. Maybe you become a nurse. But whatever you do, keep learning. Add more tools to your toolbox. Because the more you know and learn and live, the less likely you are to have regrets about how you spent your time. And all learning is an investment in you.

  • Spend your life relationship focused

  • Most of us work so that we can have a family. Provide for them. Care for them. Have quality experiences with them. But be sure that your means to provide doesn't become your primary focus. Create a daily practice for in-person connecting with people. Especially your spouse and children. Give your family a group hug before you leave every morning. Create a good-bye ritual with your spouse. In the end, it won't matter what we do for work — but it will matter to the people who we are closest to. Build securely so that your loved ones know you prize them as the most important.

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  • Spend your life spiritually focused

  • Sometimes we get in the habit of thinking about God only when we're hungry (mealtimes) or when we're tired (when we wake up or go to bed). But thinking about God always as a daily practice will help us to become more like him.

  • And the best ways to practice being more spiritual is by reading about those we admire, talking about people we admire and living like those we admire. Think of what would happen if you only talked to your spouse when you were hungry or tired? Or when you were really, really happy? What would happen to your relationship? Would she really know you? Make sure you habitually speak to God and spend your time connecting to Him. Because life is too fast — and the small moments really do matter.

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Heather Merrill is a single mom, writer and eyewitness to play-date debacles.

Website: http://singledropsofjoy.com

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