It’s not the years in your life that count.
It’s the life in your years.
Saturday, [11:29] AM
Over the past few years I’ve gotten a lot of emails with comments like, “I’m glad you’re one of the few gurus who actually reads and answers their own emails.”
They’re right. When I first started this blog, I used to answer comments and emails. A lot of people took that to mean I just opened the door, let them into my life and they now had a new pen pal.
Then I had an epiphany as my life quickly became overtaken dealing with strangers from all over the world who wanted to take up much of my time.
NOTE: These were not my cherished Knights in my Marketing Camelot. They have their own very nice customer service person assigned to them… and they DO get time from me in monthly webinars and frequent one-on-one phone time.
No, the people emailing me were perfect strangers who, for some unknown reason, believed they had a RIGHT to my precious and limited time. And most are infected with such a deeply ingrained entitlement attitude (thanks to decades of public school and government programming) that they would get REALLY pissed off and quite abusive when I didn’t respond.
A couple years ago, one of them crossed the line and made some threats, albeit implied threats of physical violence.
Normally I would welcome a physical encounter… because it’s a good way for me to blow off steam.
AND because I have won every single fight I’ve ever been in.
(My secret? I CHEAT! In fact, one time I “cheated” and ended a dude’s ability to ever fight again when he was a good 700 yards away. But that’s a story for another time.)
THIS time, since many of my former colleagues (whom I still have dirt on and they owe me favors) are now in various federal law enforcement positions, I called in a small favor and the dude got a personal visit from Homeland Security that was NOT pleasant. His email to me also got his name on one them there federal “bad boy” lists that is going to cause him various inconveniences… especially when he tries to board airplanes and such.
Yeah, I can be one nasty S.O.B. when the situation warrants it.
Anyhoo… back to my epiphany.
I’ve already expressed my feelings about how email is responsible for sucking much of the joy out of our lives here.
But my recent epiphany was an even BIGGER wake up call.
It made me realize how I’ve allowed a lot of entitlement-attitude strangers to actually shorten my life. (Well, shorten the parts of life most worth living.)
Here’s what I’m talking about.
Here’s a “life countdown”
for the average American male:
- As soon as you’re born, you’ve got 78 years on this earth, statistically speaking. (Your odds could be better or worse, based on genetics, what you put in your mouth, and pure dumb good or bad luck.)
- You spend 1/3 of that time sleeping so that leaves you with 49 and 11 months of “awake” years. (I would argue most people are NOT awake. 95% actually sleepwalk like a zombie through these 49 years and 11 months. Poor suckers.)
- Count up all the hours spent doing time in the government sponsored youth indoctrination camp (public school – under threat of incarceration if you don’t go)… and if you choose to piss away 6-figures going to an institute of “piled higher and deeper” government sponsored young adult indoctrination camp… that leaves you with 46 years and 4 months of your life remaining.
- Woo hoo! Now you go get a j-o-b and put in 91,000 hours there if you work an average work week. There’s 10 1/2 more years of your life gone, leaving you with just 35 years and 11 months remaining.
- All the time you spend in traffic, going to and from work, running errands, etc… that’s another year of your life gone. Now you’re down to just 34 years and 8 months.
- Brushing your teeth, sitting on the john, bathing, getting ready, etc. There’s 2 1/2 more years of your life gone. You’re now down to 32 years and two months.
- Eating and drinking take up 4 years. You’ve got 28 years and 2 months left.
- Shopping, running to the grocery store, buying stuff on Amazon, etc. That adds up to about 2 1/2 years. You’ve got 25 years and 10 months left.
- Cooking, cleaning, housework, mowing the lawn, doing various chores… that’s another 6 years of your life gone. You’re down to 20 years and 1 month. (That’s why I stopped doing those things years ago and pay someone else to use up their precious 6 years of life for $8/hour.)
- If you have children or care for loved ones, there goes another 1 1/2 years. You’re down to 18 years and 5 months. (Actually that seems way under-estimated for caring for children, doesn’t it?)
- Watching the idiot box, playing video games, wasting your life on Facebook, dealing with email… pick your poison. You’ll spend 9 years wasting your life with this stuff. Now you’re down to 9 years and 6 months of your life remaining.
Out of 78 years on this planet only 9 of them are yours.
Only 9 years to pursue a passion, play, laugh, cry, make memories with your friends and loved ones…
9 years to see the world, watch sunsets on the beach, hug your children, tell your your spouse you love them… love on your your children (or pets.)
9 short years.
And here’s what scared the hell out of me…
I’m more than half way
through this process!
So, statistically speaking, I only have 4 years and a few months left to do the things I really want to do.
The things that make me happy.
The things that (for me) make life worth living.
Yet some son of a bitch I don’t even know halfway across the continent wants to demonize and publicly slander me on forums (or even my own damn blog when I still allowed comments)… because I didn’t spend some of those precious few 4 good years of my life I have left to answer his email.
AND do what he REALLY wants. Work for him for free… the work I normally get paid for so I can provide for my family and support a few other people unable to support themselves due to age or infirmities.
Now imagine just for a minute, three to five emails like that per day.
If I choose to respond and perform “charity work via email”… where does that time get stolen from?
My work hours?
My eating my meals time?
My brushing my teeth or taking a dump time?
Nope. It’s time stolen from the precious 4 years I have left for activities that make life worth living.
The bliss I feel learning a new jazz lick from Coltrane.
The indescribable sense of satisfaction I feel turning a melody imagined during a dream into a full blown finished composition.
Hugging the Colombiana and telling her everything is going to be alright after a particularly depressing medical diagnosis.
Laughing so hard with my sister, brother in law, niece and nephews until we’re in tears.
Lying on the floor hugging my Doberman, telling him he has been my best friend in the world… just minutes before he passes away.
THAT is where the time comes from… and those are the joys I get robbed of.
Yet it’s ME who is an arrogant prick for not answering emails and working for free for people I don’t even know.
I thought the time invested in the 200+ free blog posts here at DobermanDan.com was my way of giving back… of helping strangers.
But for some, it’s never enough.
They’re just like the gummint. They say they’re only going to take a little… but that’s just a lie to open the door. Once you let them take a little they bleed you dry until you’re dead.
I get it now. I understand why so many people I admire are downright misers with their time.
Once you face the reality of how little of it you have left to live… I mean really LIVE… you’ll guard it like gold and drastically re-adjust your priorities.
That’s what I’m doing.
I can’t imagine myself on my death bed thinking… “Gee, I really wish I would have spent more time answering all those emails from blood-sucking strangers asking me to work for free.”
It all kinda puts things in a different perspective, doesn’t it.
Just for fun, I just checked with Cindy, my assistant. She assured me the inbox she monitors for me was filled with “time sucking” emails as usual.
I won’t think a thing of it. Cindy knows what to do with them.
Instead, I’m going to go hug the Colombiana and tell her, “Te amo.”
Then the three of us (me, her and Chiqui Rikki, the little ball of fur Shih Tzu) are going outside to play on this beautiful Saturday.
You might want to do the same.