The story below keeps making the rounds on the interwebs, most recently showing up in my inbox from my father in law. I think it is a pretty good little analogy on how to live life in direct proportion to what you value in life.
Yes, it is a little schmaltzy and a little trite but, once you get over that and look at your own priorities, it might help for some perspective.
Life and Two Glasses of Wine
A professor stood before his Philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty Mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’
The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
‘Now,’ said the professor, as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else; the small stuff.
“If you put the sand into the jar first, “He continued, “There is no room for the pebbles or The golf balls. The same goes for life, if you spend all your time and energy on the small Stuff. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18 holes. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first; the Things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.’
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented. The professor smiled. ‘I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full our life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend.’
I couldn’t find an attribution to the story. So, here’s another good quote:
“The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.” ― Vladimir Nabokov