TIME

Don't spend more time on what is urgent than on what is important.

The busyness of life can distract us from things that bring us deep-down, long-lasting happiness. The happiness that comes from having something won't be as deep or as lasting as the happiness that comes from being someone who matters.

How do you get beyond having something to being someone? Every up and down in life can feel like a precarious teetering and tottering. But you can balance the having and being by making wise choices about priorities. Work matters, for example, and sometimes you must put it ahead of things that matter more than getting to work. Just remember to kiss your loved ones good bye before you rush out the door. Remember to balance things that bring outer happiness with things that nourish inner happiness.

Impatience is an immature understanding of how the world works. Trees don't pop out of the ground with leaves receptive to sunlight and fruit ready to eat. People don't pop out of the womb fully grown and prepared to function as mature, interdependent adults. Being patient isn't being fearful or indecisive. It's respecting time.

So it can take years to shift our attention from things that bring shallow, short-term happiness to things that bring deep, long-lasting happiness. Transforming a menial job into a meaningful career, for example, or finding someone who reciprocates your love for them with their love for you. Neither of those changes happen overnight. As we mature, however, we get better at postponing gratification. If your life were condensed into one day, the morning would be when you are young. The afternoon would be when you are middle aged. And the evening would be when you retire.

Mornings

When we are young, the mornings of our life have not yet seen the afternoons. We want things now, and tend to focus those wants on things outside ourselves:

Getting our first car, scoring our first touchdown, our first kiss;
Getting our high school diploma so we can get into college;
Getting a college degree so we can get a job that gets us money;
Getting married, buying a house and having children.

Afternoons

When we are middle-aged, the afternoons of our life have seen the mornings, but not the evenings. We still tend to focus our attention on things outside ourselves, but our approach to the business and busyness of life begins to mature:

Our sense of purpose compels us to replace a menial job with a meaningful career;
Our work for a promotion to give our family a better life;
We invest part of your income to support our retirement;
We put money aside to pay for our children's college education;
We struggle to find time for our family and our leisure activities;

EVENINGS

When you retire you begin to appreciate what the mornings and afternoons of your life did not foresee. You begin to shift your attention away from things outside yourself toward things inside yourself. You begin to enjoy the happiness that comes from within as much or more than the happiness that comes from things outside. You begin to see that happiness is like moonshine. If you make your own you'll never run out.

Physical health and mental well being so you can enjoy your Golden Years;
Pleasures of loving friends and family more than yourself;
Peace with who you are; being comfortable in the skin you're in;
Satisfying relationships with family, friends, God, country, home and Earth.

The Trouble with Time

Without her, everything would happen at once.
But she's a liar—the stars she shows us from down here
aren't up there anymore.

Synchronicity? Her tallest tale.
And she's obdurate as an old mule—
makes you late for work, me a dollar short
and prevents both of us from remembering
tomorrow.

She walks in rain, runs through flowers
crawls through molasses in January
and waits for no one
, then stands breathlessly still
in a broken heart.

Her heart beats in clocks forever
but she gives us only now,
hides tomorrow in a crystal ball
and sends yesterday on a trip
to once upon a time in a land far away.

But we never get enough of her.
Then she disappears down two iron rails
converging on eternity.