“The Days Are Long But The Years Are Short”

Before the event even started, I was in tears.

I attended Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit 2013 in Portland this past weekend. I expected to be inspired, hear from great speakers, meet great people and just plain have a ton of fun.

That happened. 🙂

What I didn’t expect to happen was meeting someone who has totally inspired me for the past 8 years… and I didn’t even know she existed!

Whew. Deep breath. This part of the story is hard to talk about.

I got divorced 8 years ago. I have 5 kids. At that time, they were ages 7, 5, 3, and 1 year old twins. The twins weren’t even walking yet. I was a wreck of a human being. Totally devasted. I let someone else be in control of my personal happiness for way, way too long and I was badly broken. Suicidal. I moved into my house with the kids and had no idea how I was going to survive practically, financially or emotionally.

Around that time, I heard someone say this: “The days are long, but the years are short”.

This became my mantra. I put it on my dining room wall as a daily reminder.

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Even though I was in a really bad place, somehow, through the haze, I knew that I didn’t want to miss one second of my kids growing up. I had no idea how I was going to get through “a” day, let alone “years”.

At that time, the days were painfully long. Every day was so.much.work. It was all I could do just to take care of the kids, let alone figure out how to pay the bills.

But I knew that at some time in the future, I would hit a tipping point and the years would start to speed by. That quote gave me the strength and hope to know that somehow, at some point, life would get easier, and I didn’t want to miss it in the meantime.

That happened. 🙂

It hasn’t been easy, still isn’t really, but I recreated myself as an online business owner and marketer, and I’m pretty damn good at it. My kids are fantastic. They are well-adjusted, self-motivated, intelligent, and just plain fun to be around. I have inner peace now. I’m happy. 🙂

When my oldest turned 14, I hit that tipping point and the years have indeed started to scream by at an increasingly alarming speed.

If it weren’t for that saying, I might have been too lost in my own sadness to enjoy, and attempt to enrich, my babies’ childhood.

Fast forward to #WDS2013… I’m eagerly waiting for the event to start on the first morning. Quotes from the various speakers were being flashed on the screen, and I saw this:

Screenshot 7:10:13 1:15 PM-3The emotional response I felt took me completely by surprise. I had tears streaming down my face.  I felt such a huge sense of connection and… relief?

It was like seeing a best friend that had helped me through the most difficult time of my life. If that quote were embodied as a person, I would have ran towards her, embraced her, and cried with love & gratitude.

I heard that quote before I really knew how to work the Internet. It was such a mainstay in my life that I never even thought about Googling it to see who said it. I assumed it was just some sage, old saying, like “Time heals all wounds”. Somebody like Shakespeare had probably said it, I thought.

I was dumbfounded to learn that MY quote had actually been said by a real person who was speaking at the event!

New York Times bestselling author Gretchen Rubin had written a book called “The Happiness Project”, and my beloved quote was one of the many pearls of wisdom from her book.

Gretchen Rubin, I am forever grateful to you for your wise words that have helped me to not miss out on the most important part of my life–the formative years of my children’s lives–even though I didn’t feel like living it at the time.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to tell Gretchen in person how much this quote has meant to me.

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2 Replies to ““The Days Are Long But The Years Are Short””

  1. This was an incredibly inspiring post Andrea. Right after reading it this morning I went on my normal dog walk and ran into an older gentleman. He started talking. I listened for a long time. The message was very much the same. The universe must be speaking.

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