By Susan Begeman Steiner
Imagine meeting your Life. What would your Life look like? What would your Life say to you?
In Time of My Life, by Cecelia Ahern (2011), Lucy Silchester from Dublin meets with her Life. She is commanded to meet, sent invitation after invitation, delicately pressured by her family and finally, she meets him. Yes, him. Her life is a “him.” He begins to accompany Lucy to work and family gatherings and helps her untie herself from the lies she’s told others and, most importantly, told herself.
She also looks with Life at what she really wants in life. At one point, Life asks Lucy what her hopes and ambitions are.
“Oh,” I said, bored. I thought about it. Then, “I don’t get the question.”
He sighed and spoke to me as if I was a child. “What things would you really, really like to do if you could? Something you’d like to accomplish, like a dream job for example.”
I thought about it. “An X Factor judge so I can throw stuff at the contestants if they’re crap. Or pull a trapdoor and they go flying down into a bath of beans or something, that’d be cool. And I’d win the fashion contest every week, Cheryl and Dannii would be like, ‘Oh, Lucy, where did you get your dress?’ And I’d be like, ‘Oh this? It’s just a little something I found on my curtain pole.’ And Simon would be like, ‘Hey, you two girls should take some tips from Lucy, she’s’ --“
“Okay, okay, okay,” Life said, putting his fingers to his temples and lightly massaging his head. “Any other better dreams?”
I thought about it some more, feeling under pressure. “I’d really, really like to win the lottery so that I never have to work again and can buy all the stuff I want.”
“That’s not a real dream,” he said.
“Why not? It happens to people. That woman in Limerick? She won thirty million and now lives on a desert island, or something.”
“So your dream is to live on a desert island.”
“No,” I waved my hand dismissively. “That’d be boring and I hate coconut. I’d take the money though.”
“That’s a lazy idea, Lucy. If you have a dream, you want to at least be able to try to achieve it in some way. Something that is seemingly beyond your grasp but that you know that with a bit of hard work you could possibly achieve. Walking to your local newsagent to buy a lottery ticket is not inspiring. Dreams should make you think, if I had the guts to do it and I didn’t care what anybody thought, this is what I’d really do.” He looked at me hopefully, expectantly.
“I’m a normal person, what do you want me to say? I really want to see the Sistine Chapel? I don’t give a crap about a painting that I have to dislocate my neck to see…What could that possibly do for me? Those dreams are a waste of time and that was the most ridiculous question you’ve ever asked me. I used to do stuff all the time, so how dare you make me feel like I’m nothing without a dream. Is it not enough that my life is insufficient enough that my dreams have to be, too?”
I took a deep breath after my rant.
“Okay.” He stood up and grabbed his coat. “It was a stupid question.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Then why did you ask it?”
“Lucy, if you’re not interested in this conversation then we won’t have it.”
“I’m not interested, but I want to know why you asked it,” I said defensively.
“You’re right, you’ve clearly lived your life to the fullest and there’s nothing left to do and now it’s time for you to stop. You might as well die.”
“I’m not saying you’re going to die, Lucy,” he said, frustrated with me. “Not now, anyway. You will eventually.”
I gasped again.
“We all are.”
He opened the door and looked back at me. “The reason I asked you, is because regardless of what you say, or how much you lie, you are not happy with where you are right now, and when I ask you about what you want, anything in the whole entire world, no holds barred, you say winning money and buying stuff.” He spoke sharply and I was embarrassed.
The Time of My Life is fun, witty and a must read for anyone who is looking at their life and for coaches who serve, for a short time, as Life for each of their clients.