Recently Peter Attia interviewed one of my favorite authors, Oliver Burkeman, who wrote the book, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. I cannot recommend it highly enough. 

Although Attia typically focuses on physical health, he has identified four books as influential for him in leading a more meaningful life, which he regularly gifts to friends and acquaintances.

I’ve written about all four of these books:

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman

From Strength to Strength by Arthur Brooks

Die with Zero by Bill Perkins

Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday

I’ve included links to my previous blogs above in case you need help deciding which of these books to read next…

The full interview (linked here) is a great introduction to Burkeman’s approach to life.

Two things struck me about this interview:

1 – A meaningful life starts today. If you are waiting for the right conditions, the rewarding job, the perfect relationship, or the ultimate success to start living, a meaningful life will always be just out of reach.

2 – Peter Attia brought up a sobering observation about raising kids. Although this is clearly not always the case due to different life experiences, a parent has approximately nineteen years that they will spend with each kid. The first eighteen years occur when they are living under your roof before leaving for college. The final year is spread out over the rest of your life. Think about that. The final year that you spend with your children will take place over half a lifetime.

I’ve reflected a lot about this over the past week, especially with Claire just turning sixteen and starting her Junior year. If what he says is correct, I have only three years left with my sweet girl. Time is so precious.

Cleary there are times when we are at our wit’s end with kids, when it seems like the effort just can’t be worth it. But just being aware of how fleeting our time is, may help us to see the difficult times in a different light. Maybe it won’t feel like such a sacrifice to snuggle them in bed and read. Maybe the relentless questions become a little less annoying when we think of a time in the future where we’d give anything to experience that again. So, if you have kids, give them a big hug and spend a little extra time connecting with them today. If you don’t have kids, reach out to your parents, or friends, and make the small amounts of time you do have with them full of purpose. Meaningful moments, experienced every day, make a life worth living.

I look forward to sharing thoughts on How Minds Change by David McRaney next week.