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The Passage of Time

I can't help but marvel at the passing of time. How everything changes and gets lumped into chapters, but you only notice the chapters with hindsight, because everything changes so slowly.

If me five years ago could see me today, I wouldn't believe it to be true. I wouldn't recognise myself. Not physically, but in the way I live; my career, what's important to me, my outlook, mindset and mentality.

I suppose that's the beauty of not being able to see into the future. I expect my life five years from now will be mind-blowingly different to how I imagine it too. Which is both terrifying and exciting.

Having memorable experiences is one of the most important things to me. When I'm at the end of my life, whenever that may be (even if it's tomorrow!), I want to feel satisfied that I really lived.

I have just finished reading The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, it's the true story of a couple who become homeless and walk the 630-mile South West Coast Path. They find that strangers are increasingly referring to them as old. "Are we really getting old?" Raynor asks her husband Moth. "So what if we are?" He answers. "It's not as if we haven't lived."

I told my sister the other day that I'm really embracing being middle-aged. The awareness that youth is behind me feels strange but I'm comforted by the fact that I lived out those years in a satisfactory manner. I completed 'youth' like the levels in a video game. And if I live out the rest of my years in the same vein? That to me is true happiness.

There's a great exercise I learnt from the incredible Dr Rangan Chatterjeee. Imagine yourself on your deathbed looking back on your life. What are three things you want to have done in your life? Once you know, you can work backwards to piece together your happy-ever-after, bit by bit, before it's too late.

To have regrets is a very sad thing. "It's better to regret doing something than to regret not doing something" my French teacher at school told me, and I never forgot that wise piece of advice.

I never feel quite comfortable with the phrase You Only Live Once. YOLO! Do you? Only live once? Or is this just one of multiple lifetimes? I don't know, and nor do you. I prefer to say 'we're all just passing through'.

By Helen Ruff


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I post about my thoughts and experiences on emotional and mental wellbeing. I also love to share about others in the wellness community.

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