My time is running out

September 21, 2012 — 143 Comments

These words are about the most precious thing in the whole world. The only thing on the face of the planet that is truly priceless. The thing that dying men beg for, rich men try and barter for, and yet it can neither be granted nor purchased. It destroys gardens and pathways and footprints and castles and empires and memories. It turns rocks into sand, turns black hair grey. Rubies lose their hue in comparison to it and diamonds lose their glitter when shadowed by it and the thing is more valuable and sought after than both combined. It discriminates between no man, no race, no gender, no social status. Oh does your father own the bank? Is your grandmother related to royalty? It means nothing.

It presses holes into the soles of our shoes, draws lines upon our face, closes wombs and weakens bones. It quenches love and creates legacy…
What is it that could possibly have this power? To make and break kings? To be both the father and the reaper of life?

Time. It is time.
The most undervalued valuable in the universe. The most underestimated power known to man.

There is never enough of it. Even those who are afforded more time than their portion, who have lived to see presidents rise and fall and laws challenged and then changed and seen babies grow to be children, then turn into youngsters, then into adults….even those who have had their fill of every extremity of life possible, and even the good fortune of true love will lie grey haired and breathless in their final moments and whisper “No, its too soon, Its too soon!!!
Ask the mothers of the stillborn, ask the fathers of sons lost in battle. What will they beg for? ‘More time, more time, more time.’

But time makes no exception. When the hour is up, it is up. And yet the true value of it only becomes apparent when we are down to those last minutes. The irony of this makes me almost furious, the idea that the only time we can truly grasp the value of something is when it is too late to do anything about it…
But we all know this I suppose. We all have an intellectual understanding that we are all going to die one day, that the clock will eventually just stop, yet in those last minutes we will still perhaps bare our teeth and bare knuckle fight for more but no more will ever come.
How many times have you heard someone say with regret ‘If only I had more time’ or ‘If only I could go back….’ In fact almost every regret we will ever have in our lifetime is related to how we used, or misused our time.

From the moment we are born we have a number. It sits invisibly above our head ticking down as we saunter through life. The number is the seconds we have left, the number of breaths left in our lungs, the number of beats left in our heart. 
But we are not aware of it. We don’t see that number ticking backwards before us in the mirror as we brush our teeth angrily after the argument had with our spouse and we don’t see it as we close the door behind us as we face another day of work, we don’t see it as we make choices, rejected ideas or grow too shy to speak up…

But listen, please.
We have only one life and oh how fast that one chance and one shot goes by, and the time we get is so rare and priceless that you cannot relive even one SECOND of it.
 Even money can be earned again once lost. Even a reputation! But not time. No. We only lose time.

I can’t get this concept out of my head. I have been kept awake by it night after night, suddenly aware of the fact that my time is running out. I don’t know what it is. I didn’t always feel this way so I don’t know why it is happening now but I feel so aware of my own mortality, as if I have been delivered bad news of a terminal condition and my number has been spoken over me, that number of breaths left, heart beats left, time left and all of a sudden I just want to live, live, live because the window of opportunity to do so is closing a little more with every day. Heck I could be dead next week, and that might sound morbid and dramatic but how do I know I won’t be? The thing is I don’t because there are no guarantees in life and that isn’t to say I want to go on a mad rampage doing everything I have always thought I would do if I had one day left like steal a Lamborghini, smash a really, really big window, let 1000 sheep loose in the middle of Surfers Paradise, shave all my hair off… Its not like that, its much more SERIOUS than that for me. This is really getting under my skin, I mean, this has really slapped me in the face. I just couldn’t bear to get to the end of my life and have such sadness for all the life I wanted to live but didn’t because I could never grasp that one day I wouldn’t get another day.

It’s made me really think about what life means to me and I think it’s different for everyone. I’m not going to put a list of things you must do before you die because no one else can define what life means for you other than you. But for me? I have to figure this out. I have to start really sifting through stuff and deciding how I actually want to spend the remainder of my precious time because If something suddenly becomes completely urgent as if nothing else in the world matters at the END of our life, then shouldn’t it have been the only thing that mattered all along?

Oh if I could take you by the hand and lead you through corridors and up the lift and through hallways until we get to the room of the gentleman who only an hour ago was complaining of the rubbish hospital food (it is actually rubbish) and joking with his young son that if he doesn’t win this weekends footy game he will be struck from the will, before asking when his wife plans on smuggling in the family dog for some sneaky visits….
Now he is on his back and there are 8 people around him. One is pumping his chest with her bare hands while another draws clear liquid up from a small glass vial into a syringe. Others prepare machines and connect wires and shout for more drugs, while person number one continues to pump away at the chest. Come on heart. Come on heart. 
Others busy themselves with note taking and furiously discussing how they can fix it…

Have you ever seen this? Have you ever seen a human being on the edge of life? Whose breath seems to evade the lungs? Whose heart refuses to beat without a woman forcing it to beat with her bare hands?  A man with a wife at home looking for the book he was reading and doesn’t know? The man with a son? The man who named the dog that now sits at home whining because he knows something is wrong. The man who kissed Maria Thistleton on the lips when he was 13 after being dared to by Jeremy Arbroth at the christmas eve fundraiser? The man who now lies grey on his back with no heart beat and that woman who is pounding away on his chest, is she fighting for a heart beat? For a breath? 
In a sense yes, but what is she fighting for really? She is fighting to earn him more time.
Have you seen this? 
Even if you did see this,  I still don’t know if you would truly understand the value of life because the frustrating thing about it all is that we can never truly know the value until it is us on that table or that floor, gasping for you breath. Either us, or someone we desperately love….

I don’t know what this means for me, I still can’t make sense of this sudden awareness of the timer above my head but I figure it has something to do with some choices I need to make. Maybe I need to stop being so scared all the time of whats going to happen if I actually step out and try and see some dreams get realized. Maybe I need to realize that unless the worst case scenario of pursuing one of these dreams is death itself, then I should stop being such an excuse making, ‘I’ll get around to it’ sissy.

Maybe the same for you? If you were at the end would you regret staying with that dick who made you cry? Would you regret not telling the girl you have been admiring that you notice her? Would you regret not quitting that job with that boss that looked like a worm?
If you were at the end would you say ‘If I could have my time over again, I would not sweat the small stuff, I would be more courageous, I would move to the country, I would start that business, have another child, get married/not get married, get the counselling, learn to drive…”
Because this isn’t a game show where you can cash in your money or your prizes for a bit more air time. When its done its done.

For whatever this means for me, I don’t truly know but for now it means that I hold my children far more often, I realise how much I love and need my friends, I have stopped sweating the small stuff. In the long run there have been some things I have been wanting to do with my two boys… adventures I want to take them on. I always put it off. “Next holidays….”
I suppose in the very least I know what my boys and I will be doing these summer holidays….

Better three hours too soon, than one minute too late.
-William Shakespeare

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143 responses to My time is running out

  1. 

    I find it helpful to liken my life to a windsock, passing through space and time. The inside is a honeycomb of cells offering opportunities and experiences. A cross-section of the ‘sock’ reveals the range of choices at any given ‘now’. Like the windsock the past trails away and diminishes; the future does not yet exist (and when it does it will be the present, the ‘now’).

    The ‘frontline’ of my life is now. I must make the most of it while I can.

  2. 

    In the book of Psalms we are told “So teach us to number our days,
    That we may present to You a heart of wisdom” and that is what you are doing, realizing that there is a finite time for life for finite creatures. Here’s a link to Psalm 90: http://unbound.biola.edu/index.cfm?method=searchResults.doSearch
    Thanks for following my Posts!

  3. 

    You might wish to read Ernest Becker’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, “The Denial of Death.” I first encountered it when two people independently commented that it was the very best and most important non-fiction book that they’d ever read.

  4. 

    Very well written, really excellent writing and well thought out. It is sad and true for one with only a corporeal viewpoint.

    You are to be applauded for realizing the pointlessness of life. The wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon agreed with you when he wrote,

    “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? (Ecclesiastes 1: 1-3)

    You are right we only have so much time here on this earth. What you so adeptly alluded to, but never mentioned is at the end of “that time” is the D word–DEATH.

    Life was not meant to be empty and meaningless, with men and women moving from one party to another, one job to another, one sexual conquest to another, or even from one religion to another. There is true meaning to life. The real reason we were put on this planet.

    It is probably best stated at the very beginning of the Westminster Shorter Catechism which asks the question, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is “man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”

    You see, for those who understand that Jesus Christ came to earth, lived a perfect sinless life, died on a cruel Roman cross for you sins, your mistakes, and my wrongdoings we know have a hope.

    But that is not the end of the story. He died for the sins of ALL men and women, but Jesus Christ rose from the grave—He defeated death—indeed He is alive. So for true believers who believe in Christ death is not the end it is merely a door; a door to eternal life with Christ.

    I notice at the top of your blog, your theme verse, “Wild hearts can’t be broken.” I think deep down in your heart you know that is not true.

    In deed, David, another King, affirmed:

    “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, doing abominable [sins];
    there is none who does good (Psalm 53: 1).

    Only in Jesus Christ will you find real meaning—the TRUTH you seek.

  5. 

    You are such an exquisite writer. Just lovely.

  6. 

    Reading this I can tell you are someone who understands the finality of life. That what we do in the “now” holds more meaning then we ever give credit to. You understand how important it is to live, and to share that life with others. If I had to wager a guess, I would say your using this blog as a method of sharing this perspective. Trying to spread this realization you’ve achieved as vicariously conveyed through the experiences in your blog. Sorry, I can come off a bit “heavy” sometimes. I’ll tone myself down a bit: I enjoyed your blog. I could relate to your perspective and appreciate the effort you have put into it. Thank you for sharing. Whenever I come across a person such as yourself I feel a little less jaded about the future of our species. Later Gator.

    • 

      I suppose you are right, I am using this blog to think out loud, to try and figure things out, and using the conversation I have with my readers to do so. I’m really glad you stopped by and that you enjoyed it.
      In a while crocodile…

  7. 
    Melody J Haislip November 27, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    The writing is wonderful, almost sumptuous in the richness of its prose. It is stunning! Thank you SO much for stopping by my blog. I can’t tell you how impressed I am by your writing. I’ll try and figure out how to follow you.

  8. 

    The moving finger writes, and having writ,
    Moves on; nor all thy piety nor wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
    Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.

    – The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

  9. 

    This is a truly amazing piece!

  10. 

    Very inspiring once again. If you haven’t heard about Randy Pausche, you should probably look him up. Here’s a link to one of his videos, i’m sure he will inspire you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTugjssqOT0

  11. 

    You overrate time. You’ve got all the time in the world. When this adventure is done for you, it’s done. Don’t sweat it.

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