I worked pretty hard last year—I've never worked harder. On all levels—physical, mental, emotional, spiritual—I was drawing heavily. Toward the end of the year I got a little tired, and I was so glad to get on holiday. So glad! I took advantage of my self-employed state and took almost a month off. I was pretty pooped and it was a great summer.
A finite resource
Worn out and weary, I realised I had used up my energy—as so many people do—toward the end of the year. Every year we only have a certain amount of energy, a finite amount of it.
Energy is not time, and it is not strength. It is the driving force that makes you harness your strength, or ability, and combine it with your time to achieve a certain output. I did not feel physically weak, I still had heaps of strength left, I had just reached near maximum output of my driving force—my energy.
I am more or less at my peak, and I will only have this amount of energy for a limited number of years. While on holiday I pondered the things I give my energy to—some things paid, some unpaid.
I realised I had spent my energy on some things that I would not give to again. There were also things that multiplied my energy—they gave me more energy. I realised I want to do more of the latter and less of the former!
I have somewhere between 30–50 good working years left (depending on what constitutes good work!). I have a finite amount of time to do something good with my life, to spend my life well; as I thought about this I realised I want to treat energy with high value. The question resounding question is: how am I going to best spend my energy?
Your life's work
If you started walking every day for 8 hours, you could only walk 17,472 kilometres per year, or about 1.4 million kilometres in a lifetime. That is just far enough to walk to the moon and back, realise you have left your car keys there, and do the return trip!
If you were a builder and could build 1 house every 6 months by yourself, in your working life time you would probably only build about 100, maybe 150 houses maximum—not even a whole street from my small hometown of Beachlands.
Imagine being able to view your life's work in such a way: this is how far you could walk, or how many trees you could climb, or how many boxes you could build, or how many words you could speak. Would you value them more? The average life expectancy in New Zealand is 29,623 days—kind of a lot, and kind of not.
The things you say 'yes' to count.
They count because you have to give them your precious energy. I don't mean to make your life's efforts seem trivial or meaningless; I just want to play with our perspectives a little.
There is no end to people who will take your energy, and I urge you to spend it well.
'If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened,
more strength is needed,
but skill will bring success.'
(Ecclesiastes, chapter 10, verse 10).
Jared Diprose's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jared-diprose.html