Have you been paying your rent?
Hint: it's due more than just once a month.
Not too long ago, I was lamenting over recent lack of sleep as my toddler adjusts to his “big boy” bed in a shared parenting exchange with an acquaintance. In this conversation I was encouraged to cherish even these not-so-fun moments of parenting.
Cue eye roll.
The person on the other end of the conversation had a child who was 14 and they were sharing how, in just four, short years, their kid wouldn’t be a kid anymore. They would be offer to college or the workforce, living their own life in spurts unknown to their parents.
As I reflected on the hint of desperation in this person’s voice, I got over myself – and my eye roll.
This notion that we only truly get 18, uninterrupted years of parenting is sobering. We don’t own our children’s lives. Really, we are simply safeguarding them on their behalf – paying rent on real estate that our child will one day inherit.
As parents we pay rent.
Instead of having a philosophical debate with myself, I decided to speak these thoughts into a microphone on my podcast and now put some more to this page.
When you really stop to think about it. I mean really think and reflect. This is a powerful realization. When our children are born, we’ve essentially signed an 18-year lease. And, at the end of this term, the landlord that is Life will certainly come knocking to evict us.
Instead of denying this fact or glossing it over with our own brand of rationalizations, we can accept it. We can be purposeful with our payments. We can pay on time or even early. We can overpay!
This idea does not have to be limited to the parent-child relationship. We can put this mindset shift to work with each member of our family, all our friends, and every single co-worker and acquaintance.
The reality of life is that every second we spend living is also another second in which we move closer to death. Instead of having that reality paralyze us with fear, we can choose to have it infuse us with enthusiasm and a passion for the present moment.
So, get out there and write some checks with your time and attention!
Make sure you never miss another rent payment. Cherish and relish the journey you have with everyone you value.