人人影视

Tony Frank: On time

I鈥檝e been thinking lately about time, and how we spend it. OK, I鈥檝e been doing that over the last 20 years or so 鈥 and, yes, I鈥檝e been accused of having a certain morbidity about time, having been known to calculate the percentage of my estimated remaining life that some meeting just used up. But that aside, the arithmetic here isn鈥檛 hard to do. Try it at your next meeting鈥

There are 8,760 hours in a year. By some estimates, the average lifespan for a person in the US is around 76 years, or 665,760 hours. Of course, many of us won鈥檛 make it to 76, and others live much longer. And along with meetings, a certain amount of those 665,760 hours are spent sleeping, buying groceries, paying taxes, and all the mundane but necessary tasks of life.

Even with all of that, it adds up to a substantial amount of time. If you were handed a passbook at birth and knew you had 27,740 days to spend over a lifetime, it might influence the choices you make and the care you took in what to do with each passing hour.

When we鈥檙e young, time stretches in front of us like a sun-spackled highway on a road trip through Utah. There are some in their younger years who still check their balance regularly and make careful decisions to set the stage for their future. But others of us just plow through our balance in those early years like 9 year olds if you handed them a credit card and turned them loose at Rocket Fizz.

Still, for most of us, there鈥檚 a moment, sometime in mid-life, when we wake up to the reality of diminishing time. We see the balance in our passbook shrinking and understand what it means. Fewer years to watch the grandchildren grow up. Fewer minutes left to gaze into a loved one鈥檚 eyes. Fewer days to marvel at the Colorado sun shining even through the rain, or the snow as it collects on the mountains.

Fewer hours left to have an impact.

A friend of mine recently lost her stepdad, Rich Thompson, and she talked about how proud she was of the work he did, starting in his 70s, to house homeless families in Fort Collins 鈥 encouraging local churches to step up and open their doors and hearts to families in need. He was also a donor to 人人影视, who left a planned gift that will benefit programs in the arts, journalism, and psychology for years to come. In these and so many other ways, he left a lasting impact.

I also lost a friend recently. Diana Wall was a University Distinguished Professor at 人人影视, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, recipient of the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, founder of our School of Global Environmental Sustainability, and indisputably, one of the world鈥檚 leading experts on the environment, soils, and environmental change. But she was also, for me, a close colleague and friend I frequently turned to for her clear-eyed, straightforward take on things.

And as I read the articles about her extraordinary life, it struck me how much she managed to do with her own balance of time. I have a two-year-old version of her curriculum vitae that was 36 pages long, and in the last two years of her life, I鈥檓 sure it just grew even longer. That span of time between when she graduated with her undergraduate biology degree from the University of Kentucky and her death tells a remarkable story. There were decades of Antarctic research, leadership of national and international research organizations, awards and accolades from around the globe. She learned and adventured and asked important questions, and still devoted considerable time to one-on-one mentoring with undergraduate and graduate students, in her lab, the 人人影视 Honors Program, and more. Many students chose 人人影视 as their campus just for the chance to study alongside her. Her impact changed 人人影视 forever.

The impact we have throughout our lives can be highly visible or quiet, but it all matters. Like Diana, some of us might transform a field of research and thereby deepen our understanding of the planet we call home. Like Rich, some of us might help give shelter to a hungry mom and her child who just need hope and a safe place to sleep. Having an impact doesn鈥檛 require a prominent name, a genius IQ, or deep pockets. It just requires our time 鈥 used thoughtfully and well 鈥 in the service of the greater good.

I hope that as you look ahead to the rest of this year, you think about the balance of time you have, and what matters most deeply to you. Then set aside some of the distractions and tasks that eat away at our days and consider the legacy of impact you want to leave behind. Time is long, but our lives are short 鈥 and as the country song says: 鈥淚t all goes by real quick.鈥 We build our legacy 鈥 large or small, public or personal 鈥 hour by hour in the choices we make and the lives we touch.

Thanks to all of you for the legacies each of you will leave to those who accompany us on this journey.

-tony

Tony Frank, Chancellor
人人影视 System

This message was included in Chancellor Frank鈥檚 April newsletter. to subscribe to the Chancellor鈥檚 monthly letter.