Homework: The Value of Time

A prompt from 13 Steps to Awakening:

time by Sean MacEntee, on Flickr
time” (CC BY 2.0) Photo by  Sean MacEntee 
I came across the 13 Steps to Awakening series when the blogger, Alex Moses from A Life Answer, liked one of my book reviews.  The first of the 13 steps included a scenario I found intriguing for a short post.  The lesson also includes homework assignments, which I consider useful mind-stretching exercises as I struggle to sift through my life experiences to decide which are worth including in my memoir. Perhaps more significantly, I believe completing the exercises may help me uncover thoughts and memories that I have tucked away deeply into my sub-conscious in order not to reveal them. If my memoir is authentic, I need to consider telling the whole story, not just the parts that are pretty and look good sitting on a curio shelf.


  • List all the things you would do if you were to die in the next 30 days. How would your life change for the next 30 days? What would you do differently?
    1. My first thought was that I would use my last 30 days to visit people and places I found meaningful in my life, to say thank you to the people and to view awesome places one more time. But I don’t really need to travel to accomplish either of these goals. Seeing people is possible through Skype or Facetime and the Internet is full of videos of places.
    2. The activities I then focused on are all related to making sure those closest to me have the information they would otherwise turn to me for–user ids and passwords, for example, on the minor end but much more on a more significant end.
    3. Related to #2 above is getting rid of things I have held onto that I know no one else wants. I know there are piles of such things around the house just as there are piles of thoughts in my mind that I should let go of.
    4. By taking the three steps above, my life would be simpler, less complicated.
  • List all activities that you perform on any given day and assign one of the 3 states (feeling joy, feeling pain, being asleep) to each activity. Calculate the percentage of time being spent in each state.
    1. Writing-feeling joy
    2. Preparing meals-feeling joy
    3. Cleaning up-being asleep
    4. Reading-feeling joy
    5. Walking-feeling joy
    6. Playing with grandchildren-feeling JOY
    7. Paying bills-feeling joy (that I can without worry)
    8. Watching TV-being asleep
    9. Checking out social media-feeling both joy and pain
    10. 75% feeling joy, 10% feeling pain, 15% being asleep

The above homework is part of the first of 13 free lessons, developed by Alex Moses, Life Strategist, available on the A Life Answers website, shared with his permission.

Value of Time

A prompt from 13 Steps to Awakening:

“Imagine you woke up with a sharp pain this morning. You went to the doctor, they ran a bunch of tests and determined that you have a stage 4 cancer with less than 30 days to live. What thoughts will be going through your head? What would you be doing for the next 30 days?” from Key 1: Value of Time, 13 Steps to Awakening.

When I came across the 13 Steps to Awakening series, I decided to try them out. The first lesson opened with the above exercise, a good prompt for writing a short piece. The lesson includes homework assignments as well, which I hope to complete as I work through the lessons.

The first thought that crossed my mind when considering this scenario is that I would stop spending time alone. And that could mean no longer writing, or at least no longer writing the memoir I’ve been working on for the past year.

From childhood I felt I would be a writer, and my journal entries from my early adult years are full of statements about how I looked forward to including some of the interesting characters I met in my years of living overseas in future writing. But I also felt I needed experience in order to write. So I put the goal on hold and spent my time in search of an interesting life, something worth writing about. I delayed writing, though I have never felt that I stopped living an interesting life; I simply adjusted how much of my time I devoted to experiencing life first and writing about it until I retired and could grab the 8-10 hours per day (my husband would argue those numbers are too low) I had been spending on work.

But no matter how much I want to write, I would prefer to spend time with the people I love and care about, as well as the people who may not know how much impact they have had on my life. Assuming I could still travel, I would spend my final days traveling to see the important people in my life in order to tell each person how important they have been. If my health did not permit travel, I would resort to traveling in my mind and writing letters to those I wanted to see with the message I would have conveyed in person.

The above prompt is part of the first of 13 free lessons, developed by Alex Moses, Life Strategist, available on the A Life Answers website, shared with his permission.