What gives time it's value?

Have you ever considered your life’s timeline? It’s easy to put things off whether they be important experiences or mundane tasks. But how much time do we really have?

September 19, 2023
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Hey everyone, welcome to the Self Awareness Journey podcast. I'm Melissa Albers. And I'm JJ Parker. This podcast is for seekers of happiness, joy, and a centered approach to success in life. Seekers of their true, authentic selves. Get ready for some real talk on everything from anxiety, emotions, and habits.

To love, compassion, and forgiveness. We know you'll be challenged and enlightened by this conversation, and we're so glad you're here. Let's dive in!

I was at my annual Vistage retreat this past weekend, which was super fun, where like our group gets together and, um, we go up north for a few days, eats, chats, you know, most of the time the, uh, the medians we have are, are very like, um, I'll say tactical, but you know, it's just like, we've got an agenda, we get through it.

And this was much more relaxed. So we all get to stand around and chat and get to know each other much better. Um, but we had a speaker, which I thought was absolutely fascinating. Um, and again, a lot of the speakers we have are tactical, like ways to accelerate your sales team or like new HR policy, all

Yeah. Motivate your people like this.

Yeah. But this one was called here. I got the pamphlet for you, your extraordinary. Why? And so,

okay, sorry, I just got a little wall up there when you said that. I just felt a little emotional wall climb up.

well, and did we do, have we talked about like your why and your purpose and trying to like explore what your why is? We've done that. We've, we've had that a bit. Um,

It's been a long time probably.

the idea is that if you kind of know maybe why you're on the planet,


Uh, a lot of decisions


a lot easier, right?

Precisely. Mm

if you know what your purpose is and what you're driving for, you can say yes or no to things easier.

You know, it gives you a, it gives you a much higher sense of purpose, right? Kind of a,

Yes. And personal well being. Mm hmm. I agree.

Um, so I love this stuff. I, I really love it. So, um, I was all, I was all in on,

It's a good, it's good that I do because I kind of coach people towards that actually, so maybe it's good I like it too.

So the guy's name is Brett Pyle and he was awesome. He was, uh, he came from like, his parents were in the theater So he kind

Oh, fun.


Oh, fun.

of presentation

I love that because it's so much more engaging.

Oh, it was great.

And he, so he broke his, his, uh, his Program into three acts


for us to help discover our why


I won't go in, into all of it, right, this is not going to rehash, um, his whole thing, but, uh, the first, the first act was kind of like exploring your past, you know, what, what are the things about your past that might be influencing how you're acting as an adult today?


talk about that a lot, right?

do. Yep.

Um, you know,

But most don't.

that's, I, that might be true. People get pretty emotional during that

Yeah. Well, most people dread that.

they don't want to look back.

They don't want to look back because it's not a fond looking back that they choose to do. Usually. I, I, I shouldn't say usually, but often.

often. Yeah. Well, and growing up's traumatic,

Mm hmm.

in a, in a lot of ways. And,


um, so his point was go, go take some time and explore that stuff because it's going to help you understand what's, uh, what's driving you today and kind of why you're acting the way you act. So that was interesting.

Yeah, that's very interesting. I mean, that's the premise of most, most coaching and most therapy. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Mm hmm.

His second act was about forgiveness, which we thought was pretty. Interesting, um, and really about not hanging on to things.


So, who do you have to forgive? Maybe it's yourself, maybe it's others. Um, and how do you just let go of all of that so you can move forward? And then,

Because that takes a lot of energy for people to hang on to it, and it does hang on. Yeah, pretty dramatically.

and then his third act was, um, about death. So, you know, this is like a real cheery,


me up kind of motivational

a Sarah Bell curve, the bottom is about an inch long and it's about four miles tall Okay

Yeah. So everyone was in a


in a real mood. So I'll show you, like, he made us draw this line, it's a line across a piece of paper, when you were born, what today is, and when you think you're gonna die.

So, we're like, what?

Wow this guy, huh?

Usually when you're hired to, you know, you know, to do like a speech, um, a, uh, professional development event, a lot of it stays on the real sunny side.

Yeah. Yes. You don't delve into the dark side too much if you want to get hired again.

let's go all the way. Well, yeah, he's never coming back. He didn't care about coming back. He doesn't want to come in Minnesota ever again.

He doesn't want to come back.

So the first thing. is

I'm sorry. That's so funny. What a business model this guy has. Okay. Okay. And we're back.

so his first question is how old are you gonna be when you die


what do you what do you think? What what what what are you aiming for?

Oh, gosh. I have no idea. I have no idea. And, and, this is going to sound so terrible. I don't care. See, this is me flying in the face of your, your premise. I mean, if you looked at the average life, uh, expectancy, what is the average life expectancy of a woman? 82 and a man is 76 or is the man, I can't remember

be a little higher than that I'm not

it, no, it's not. And actually it lowered because of the pandemic. The percentage numbers made all of it lower even by two years.


Yeah. Not that I'm paying attention to those kinds of stats, but I do recall seeing it.

here are the average is death the average ages of people

I've made a small spreadsheet to show you.

Yeah. What, like a insurance actuary, like like as a hobby of yours?

Yeah, oh yeah, that's me, an actuary, oh, I don't

So you don't care about what's, what's your number?


But you can use your, your, you know your default number, what'd you say? 82.

I'll say 75.

All right. I wrote 83.

You did?



The lowest in our entire group was 79.

Oh, that's

A bunch of people,

that is.

a bunch of people wrote in their 90s.

Oh, that's not realistic.

Right? It's so pragmatic of you. realistic.

Ha ha ha ha.

the only, the person who wrote the lowest number and also put the pushback on everyone who thought they were going to be 90, Um, She runs a funeral home.

ha ha ha.

see this every day.

Ha ha ha ha. Oh my gosh I wish I was in the room for that. Oh shoot.

Yeah, there's, there's, uh, there's not a lot of humor, like mortician humor. It's great.

Come on, what do you mean there's not a lot? Hilarious,

so funny. It's like, I'm saying that there's a particular edge to that kind of humor, which is

Oh, absolutely. Yes, yeah, not a lot of people can pull it off either.

right. That's what I'm saying. Um, okay. we're going to live to 80 ish, right? And we're not going to do math because we're not doing, you know, math in public, um, on the pod. But, uh, you know, we got a couple years left.

Yes. Hopefully. But you never

the whole thing about this which I thought was um,


Uh, like the idea that we will die someday 'cause we're not gonna last forever. Um, the idea that we die is the thing that gives time it's value.


So we hear all these pithy phrases all the time, like time is money and,

Mhm. Carpe

yeah, all yeah. Seizes the day, all that.

Mhm. Mhm. Mm

but it wasn't until I really started getting, thinking about like, well, what is causing that, right?

The, the time is money thing is kind of from a, you know, if you work, then you get paid kind of exchange.

Chop, chop. Yeah. It's a, it's a, I think it's a very common American standard

Mm hmm. Mm

shove a bunch of activity into every waking moment to show value.

Yeah. And then seize the day. What is, what is that one about? That one's about not... It's about sitting around. It's about getting, it's a

Do it today. Don't wait. Mm hmm.


Oh, and there's so many. If we sat and thought about it, we could probably come up with 20 comments around time. Yeah.

totally, if we never died, if you were going to live for hundreds of more years,

Mm hmm.

how would that change your perspective of hmm.

I think it would be depressing. See, I have a different, I, I, I have a feeling I'm different with this.

I don't, I agree with you that it would be depressing because like, what would be the point of really doing anything? Yeah, I just do it tomorrow. It doesn't matter. I'm gonna live forever. It's, you know, it would be really demotivating. Mm

think either whether, whether it's conscious or subconscious that that's the thought you have, right? Because I don't even know if people are really consciously aware that they are kicking the can down the road because they just think, ah, I can do it later. I'll just do it later. I remember my um, yeah, I I don't know my I remember when I was in just out of school My first roommate Karen and I oh my gosh, we had so much fun We took this trip together to Florida and I had zero money zero money.

I had no idea how to Take care of money. I had no idea how to have credit. And so I took out a credit card and got a bunch of cash from it and we went to Florida. No way to pay it back. Okay? Yeah. All right. So I remember on that plane, this is funny, but I remember on the plane we started laughing about all the comments that we say when we try to make ourselves feel good in the moment.


To put off, The things that we knew were hanging around. We just didn't want to deal with we would deal with them later And it was hilarious stuff like oh we can eat when we get there. We'll pay it on the 15th We can sleep in the car Like how we have all these funny things and like we had this whole pile of them and we laughed and laughed and laughed But what's the premise of that?

I'm not gonna deal with anything right now because I can just put it off till later

Right, like future you can deal with that problem. Heh.

that's a future you problem Exactly. I don't know, I feel like, um, I think I'm, oh, did you have something else you wanted to lead us down? Oh, I was just going to say, I feel like, uh, I feel like what's interesting about this is, um, I wonder if the connection with your own personal value and your own personal purpose impacts your comfort with the idea of death and how much longer you have.


What do you

Um, probably. Yeah. Yeah, I would say, well, I don't know. We'll, we'll, I'll let you know when we get closer to the end. But,

When you're 90?

yeah, when I'm 90. Uh. I would, I would guess that if, if, if you did all the things you kind of wanted to do during your life and you accomplished the things you wanted and you had great relationships and,


and, uh, you know, acted on all the things you wanted to act on, that you would probably be feeling pretty good towards the end.



Can you feel that good with all of those things in your 50s?

I think so. I think, I think you can. Um, but that would, you know, you also hear a lot like the, you know, on, on your deathbed on a person's deathbed. They never say things like, I wish I would have worked more.

Right. Yeah.

Oh, they always talk about regrets. Like, I wish I would have done a




Which makes you think now, well, should I be doing those things that I want to do?

Now we've got so much constraint around, around that, right? Like, it's not like all of us can just like, Well, I just want to like, quit my job and become a surf bum. Because that's really

Live on a hobby farm. I want to raise miniature llamas. Yeah.

There are stories, though, that people actually just do that,

I know.

And it's fine.

Yeah, actually, I think you and I, we know a couple. We know a couple. Yep. Yep, I won't say their names now, just in case. But, um,

You don't want to expose the location of their obby farm.

Yeah. Exactly. They're a hobby farmer, their new alternative way of living. But I think the pandemic also forced a lot of people down this exact conversation because things became very different very quickly.

And the immediacy of life became much more, um, in, in the forefront of conversation and not in a way that you could hide it. You know, I think that we can avoid. Truths that we are not comfortable with. I think the human spirit is incredibly apt, adept at avoiding truths that are not, um, convenient.

Oh, that's a really interesting way to phrase that.

Yeah. Mm

I'll, like, uh, think about people being, like, delusional. That's kind of, like, a fancy way to phrase it, like...


You have a delusion. It's more like, right. It's derived from illusion. Like you're, you're seeing, you're kind of purposely not seeing something.



Or you're seeing something a little different than, than reality. Um,

And those things like trans, Oh, go ahead.

Oh, the way you phrased it, like not wanting to see the truth is true. Like people are really good at doing that.

Yeah. I had, I had more than one client that like just during the pandemic, one specific, um, had, had a fallout with their parent years prior and always said, uh, I'll at some point I'm sure we'll make up at some point I'm sure we will, but I'm not going to do that because they did this to me. not, I'm not going to do that right now because they did this to me years ago, whether they knew it or not. And um, during the pandemic, that parent, uh, contracted COVID, ended up in ICU on a ventilator and they didn't think he was going to come back. And it was an absolute all out panic about, Oh my gosh. I, now what? I don't have the time. Now there's no time. And, um, we did this really interesting exercise to help with that. Um, which I can talk about, but the, the, but the, the point is, is that this person put something off for a very long time, actually like a decade. And, um, then when faced with no more time. It was a flat out, oh my god, what have I done?

Oh, at some point. That's a great example of this idea that death is the thing that's giving time its value.

yeah, exactly, exactly. And, um, you know, in a way, I think that that's being a human.

It's just easy to kick things down the, down the road. Things that are hard are just things that we oftentimes avoid. Um, it's just easier, it feels easier because we think we've got, we've got as much time as we want. We can figure it out later. Um, but I don't, but, and I do think that's a normal human thing.

So I don't think that there's a judgment in that. I think that, that we all do that to some degree about different things, but it just takes a moment of something to snap us awake or snap the illusion as you're talking.


And then what?

Yeah. Yeah. Would it, would it be? It's kind of an interesting exercise to think, to sit and think, and you know, we're not, I don't want to make like a super depressing podcast here, maybe that's

I don't think it's, I don't think this is depressing at all. I think it's really interesting to think about.

really sit and think like, okay, like if I, if I were to like pass away within the year, what are those things that.

You know, given now that I have a very small amount of time, really what are the things I need to go do before I pass


That's an

Have you ever done that exercise? I've done that.

you have? I just, I just came up with it now.


I'll do it this afternoon.

Cause I'll say something, I'll say something like that to my kids or my husband and they all like, stop being so depressing. Why are you doing that? But I actually feel the exact opposite by the exercise.

Honestly, I, um, look, there's a whole bunch of stuff that I will continue to do and live all out. I feel like I, I can pretty much whatever. And, and you know what? Most of us are like this. Most of us, if we have a list of what we really, really want, we can have those things. It's not that, it's not that, it's not that unrealistic, but we get in our heads that things are.

We make things more dramatic than they are. We, oh, there's no way I can take that trip. There's no way I can get this amount of money. There's no way I can have this kind of place. There's no way I can have this kind of car. Um, if we spent half of the moments thinking about how are we going to, Um, I think it would be shocking how quickly we could, honestly, doesn't matter what your lot in life is.

So for me, I do think it's such a good exercise to say, what have I got on the table yet?


You know, like, what is it like, um, and to, to sort of separate them into kind of buckets. Are they material things? Are they relationships mended? Are they new kinds of relationships we haven't yet experienced? Like, what is, what are they?

I don't think that's depressing. I think that's really healthy and helpful.

The other thing I thought was interesting in our little timeline exercise, is he actually, like we wrote down when we were going to die. We wrote down when we were going to live. We wrote down where we are now, which for most of us is, you know, maybe a little bit above halfway.


But then he goes, well, take off the first.

20 years, he was just doing that for easy math, but saying like, Hey, that those first 20 years, like you were still growing up. So if you lop off the first 20 years and now look at your timeline, you might not actually even be halfway done


your adult life.


a little, it was, yeah, and it was a little bit like, cause at first I was like, Ooh, really?

Like I'm more than halfway done. I bet. Is this motivating or not? Um, but then to think of the, that maybe like the, the more adult you, the more mature you, the is only halfway done with what Hmm.

Yeah. It is kind of fun to think about and you know what? I think that as you get older there is an efficiency about how things get done. There's a, there is a,

That's not my experience by walking behind an old person in a grocery store. What deficiencies are you talking about? I'm just kidding.

oh my gosh. I think the efficiencies I'm talking about are the thinking patterns and the emotions that we put behind things. As we get older, we get a lot more mature. Like, we've had pods when I've talked about being newly married and slamming doors.


I would not take the emotional energy to slam a door right now unless I was getting chased by something trying to eat me. Stuff like that. But there, there it does, you know, hopefully with all of us, there comes a level of emotional intelligence hmm.

Yeah. Yeah, so from, from a mental energy perspective, it's, you're saying it's like a lot more, a lot more efficient.

Yeah, but I like your idea of this timeline, like what's left. Um, is that how you worded it?

Yeah, like what's left. Yeah.

Yeah, I like that. I love that, actually. I think that's a really, I don't think that that's a morose question. I think that's kind of an exciting question to think about.

Well, I think the point would be, it would be a shame if, uh, no matter when you kind of realize it, um, that's real early in life or later in life, um, it'd be a shame to like look at, at your life on your deathbed and. And say, Oh, I wish I would have, you know, that's the number one thing you hear it's is regret.

So, um, how can we be just a little bit more proactive about planning on what we actually want? So we don't have those kinds of regrets at the end.

Yeah, I think that's a really good thing and, and I would, you know, me being the extrovert, but we can't take any of this stuff with us, right? So collecting all these things that we are trying to collect, whether it be retirement accounts or whether it be stuff,

Mm hmm.

you know, obviously it sounds very kitschy and obvious, but it's the relationships that are really, really, that really matter.

And if there's, if there's stuff you're leaving on the table in a relationship because of pride or ego, um, that's the thing that time is eating away, right? That's what time is really eating away. Just like picture a fire singeing on the edge, just ready to take. And that's the thing I feel like it's just, it's really worth the time thinking about the relationships that you have or had and are there things that are, you want to not leave open because.

Because of this, you know, time, time is the, is a great motivator when you think about it.

Great stuff to think about.

It really is. Good topic.

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Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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