30 squares left

I just read ‘How to be fucking awesome’ by Dan Meredith, I’d been wanting to read it for a while and it’s been sat there in the stack of books to read on Audible, I haven’t even started on the stack of real books on my desk! Better get on with reading, just 30 squares to go.

So one part, amongst many, that made me sit up and take note, is that I only have 30 squares left.

What does that mean? Well, the average life expectancy for the UK is 82 years old and accepting that the only certainty that I can know of to be true is I am going to die at some point, and so are you. We only have a certain number of squares.

I am 52 so that means at best I’ve got 30 years left. So where do the squares come from? Well in order to visualise this and have even more impact Dan suggest to draw out 82 squares and then you can see your life, I went further and coloured sections (naturally, being an artist) and then marked off some key events too. But I have had 5/8 of my life and that means roughly, if our lives were 24 hours, 1 day, then I was born at midnight, 12 am, and I am now at 3 pm. I am coming up to late afternoon/early evening.

The thing is my life will naturally slow a little, especially say past 70, so that means only 18 squares to go to that point, that is 18 more birthdays, 18 more holidays, 18 more of any annual event. When we start to look at life and really accept there is an end, it is funny that it makes you value the time you have left more and it focuses you.

So, if you’ve got a spare 10 minutes, have a go, take a piece of paper draw 82 squares and mark where you are now and see how many squares you have got left. It is a real wake up call. I now have my chart on the wall as a reminder that the clock is ticking, the squares are reducing.

I suspect like me, you’ve got a few things that you might have been too shit scared to do and have been putting off. Well as the squares dwindle, so will our time left to do them will decrease. What are we all waiting for? No one died of trying, well perhaps some who do crazy batshit things like diving off cliffs or swimming with sharks or other mad things, but in reality, a tiny, tiny, tiny few die even doing nutty things. Disclaimer here, please do not take that as an invitation to do crazy unsafe things.

I have 30 squares, maybe less, no one knows. Time to get on and do something that matters. I need some more important life markers and events to put on my chart.

Under pressure

We are all under a huge constant pressure to be amazing, perfect, super human, great at everything, constantly doing, earning more, buying more, bigger, better…we need to be a doer, a go-getter…

We are all the same, we are probably good at one or two things, no human can be great at everything. To be good at anything takes time, practice, commitment and pain, it’s not something that you fast track from reading a ‘how to be a winner at everything’ book.

The things we really value are not related to achieving, money or stuff. They are things like people, adventures, having a laugh and so on.

It’s also not about what others are doing and measuring ourselves against them. We need to set our metrics by our own personal values and move thing else.

Once we accept we’re ordinary, like everyone else on the planet then we are no longer under pressure and life is so much better.

No one does well under pressure despite the myth of such fed to us by the machine that keeps us slaves to meaningless deadlines. Keep running round and round the hamster wheel.

From this place of peace and acceptance we can then focus on the things that matter and live a purposeful life getting even better at one or two things we love doing.

Our worth is not determined by a meaningless pursuit of happiness that only comes when we reach this nirvana of being fucking great at everything. We never reach it and who hell wants to?