January 23, 2021

Limited Days

We were buying our 14-month daughter her first pair of shoes. When my wife picked one in the store and showed them to me, the label on the shoes was 180° rotated, so I read it as “LIMITED DAYS.” But it turns out it was “LITTLE DAYS.” Oops!

I must have biased. I’ve learned that these shoes are for the transition, helping her get used to the footwear. So that “Limited Days” fits perfectly in this context.

“Wouldn’t it be sad putting ‘Limited Days’ on baby shoes?” said my wife. “Well,” I paused and thought about it, “don’t we all have limited days anyway, the shoes, us, and all humans?” I chuckled. I must admit I did get influenced by the dark humor of the TechLead (my new favorite YouTube channel).

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“Limited days” perhaps would be interpreted negatively in most cultures. It reminds us of the limitation of time, opportunities, and the ultimate destination of life — death. But maybe I’m getting old, I find myself thinking differently. I’m intrigued and pondering on the connotation of the words.

It stretches the span to a larger scale. It pulls you out of your daily routines and suggests a bird’s eye view of your ongoings. Like switching your Google Calendar from the day/week mode to the full year mode.

It’s the same practice of “Begin with the end in mind” in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. By envisioning what you want in the future, you get to work and plan towards it. I’m writing the first draft of this post on my Leuchtturm 1917 notebook. It’s as if being nudged to look at the remaining 238 blank pages and imagine how to best use them. It’s a good mental exercise.

It also helps us get better at setting up the boundaries and protecting our time. Be more selective. Have a stronger preference on what to work on, where to go, who to befriend, and when to quit. Time is limited and attention is the new currency. Knowing that can be liberating so you don’t need to work your fingers to the bone trying to complete the forever-growing TODO list.

It perhaps also hints at a better coping strategy with negative emotions. Some doses and types are necessary for our growth, but not all. What value does it bring to your life if you hold a grudge against the people or events you cannot change? If we only have limited days anyway, why not spending the time to better ourselves and live happier?

And if eventually, that day has come, I wish I have lived the life the best I could, so I could walk into the other side of the world proudly.

I agree that “Little Days” is a more culture-fit label for baby shoes :)

baby shoes, little days

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Qihuan Piao

Qihuan Piao

(aka kinopyo) is Chinese based in Tokyo. Software writer. He shares stories inspired him in this blog. His infamous line - "I feel calm when I kill those monsters, or people (in game)" shocks his friends deeply.

He also writes in Japanese and Chinese.