What really matters most to you? And what are you doing about that today? I’ve been asking people these questions since 2012. Why? Because it’s too easy to get carried away with the small stuff.
The small stuff? Our problems, our neighbours problems, the problems we see on social media, the never ceasing list of things we have to do every single day, the things that annoy us, the things that we are addicted to, besotted with, are out of our control or we just cannot quite grasp.
We are told to be more, to do more, to achieve more, to grow, grow, invest and when we are done with that we should teach our children, and then our children’s children to do the same.
And this is great. But really – does it matter?
Think about the things that have occupied your brain this week. Did they matter? Really? What will your 70 year old self say about them?
As a high school student I read Ray Bradbury’s iconic “Fahrenheit 451”. Couldn’t care less about it at the time – ironically because I had so few cares. However, as an adult I picked up the same book and it changed my entire world. Bradbury wrote of a world that was numb. It had forgotten to value, to appreciate, to think, to challenge. I realised at the time I did not want that to be my world. And yet, busy still sweeps me away time and time again.
And the thing about ‘busy’ is that it doesn’t care about your larger plans, busy is only concerned with what is happening right now and ticking that off the list.
I don’t know about you – but I want my life to be more than just a list.
A little trick I’ve learned along the way is that when busy is louder than intuition it’s time to STOP – to grab something to write with, and something to write on and to make some space to think.
With that time to think I must cast my mind to a time where I’m an old woman, I’m sitting in a comfortable space and I’m looking back with gratitude on a life well lived.
I then write a list of the things I’m most proud of, the things that mattered most. And, as confirmation of my human faults, every time I’m surprised in the simplicity of the things on my list.
I realise in these times that the important things were never getting my flooring and furniture right, they weren’t about making sure I drove the nicest car and they certainly weren’t about making sure my eyebrows were always perfectly ‘on fleek’.
In fact, as I dove deeper I realised I actually have no need to be the best, the richest, the most successful nor the most beautiful.
What matters most to me is simply having a good, honest and loving life.
As I came to understand what that means on a deeper level I also determined that not only am I on the right path, but there is also a whole lot of little things currently occupying my brain that just don’t deserve so much air time.
We are all living while a clock silently ticks in the background counting down our days in this life. My best ever advice – make the time to understand what really counts to you – imagine yourself as old as you possibly can and think about the things that will make you smile through the pain of living – and do more of that every day.
And that is a life lived by what matters.
Kerry Grace is a passionate advocate of regional Australian communities. She is currently working as the Director of Regional Development for Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast and Norfolk Island.
Kerry is the founder and CEO of Evolve Group Network (est 2004) and the Community Practitioner’s Academy (est 2020). Kerry’s work focuses on empowering everyday regional leaders (do-ers) to build sustainable communities.
With a strong consultancy background she has worked with all levels of government, not for profits and Aboriginal corporations. She is often called upon for her facilitation skills to moderate pathways forward for contentious and complex issues.
Kerry has tertiary qualifications in business (marketing and tourism), and additional qualifications in life coaching and adult education.