Time. Something that seems like we have so much of, but in reality can be gone in a second. So often we put things off until tomorrow, yet what if there is no tomorrow? The thought of no tomorrow is something I frequently think about. It tends to hit me most when I am driving in the car. Why the car you may wonder? I spend a lot of my days and weeks driving in the car. Work is 45 minutes from where I live. My family is a little over an hour. Friends are scattered across the state. You get the picture. It feels as if I see a minimum of one car accident a day and with each one I pass it hits me that if timing had been different that could have been me.
As life moves forward we become ingrained in the daily things we have to accomplish. Yes of course we have to attend to our responsibilities, that is a no brainer. However it is easy to become controlled by them instead of you being in control. When you look at your life are you giving the seconds you have value or do the seconds determine what you value?
My family has always been one to live for moments, not minutes. While I was growing up, and even to this day, I recall people constantly making comments about us always “being somewhere” or “doing something.” But as I look back at my life I would not change anything regarding the way my parents raised me, teaching me how important making memories is. In doing so, they also taught me how important responsibilities are and showed me how to create a healthy balance between both. This is still a work in progress for me and in all honestly I think it is one of those things that forever will be. As we move through different seasons of life we constantly have to reevaluate where we are and what we value to find that balance again.
This past weekend reminded me just how precious the time we have is. How important it is to find that balance in our life where we are in control of our time. One of my best friends dad passed away without any warning signs. He was only 57. He went to bed Friday night, expecting to wake up on Saturday morning and didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I know this happens. I have had it happen to others close to me, but there always was a reason attached. While this does not make it better or worse, it makes it a little easier to try to understand.
My mind has been running in circles for several days about a lot of things, yet one thing that keeps coming back to the forefront is about living not only in the moment, but for the moment. Also how important it is to make the most of where we are, right here, right now for that is the only thing that is guaranteed. We speak this. We read quotes about this. But do we really do this?
Have you ever stopped to think what it would be like to miss out on a day of your life? I’m not saying thinking about if you were to pass away, I’m just saying miss one day in time. For example, today is the 24th and what if the next thing you were to recall was waking up on the morning of the 26th with no memories from the day in-between. 86,400 seconds of our life just lost, gone, with no recollection. We don’t realize how important each second is until we don’t have them. Sometimes when we have a bad day we wish that day had never happened. I can admit I have said this a time, two or twenty. Or we wish that the day would just “get over with.” Also guilty.
I, at times, feel like a bad day is the end of the universe. I, at times, let days pass by without making them count. I, at times, take days for-granted. I’m human. We all are. It is pie in the sky and unrealistic to live a life where we never become frustrated, sad upset or bogged down. That is not what I’m getting at. But when push comes to shove and I stop to think about what I would rather have; a bad day or a missed day, the bad day wins every time.
As I circle around this idea more and more my mind then begins to wander to what if today were my last day? Sounds morbid, I know, but the reality is it’s a possibility. With this I start thinking about how I act to those around me and how I react to the things that have happened to me. What would my lasting impression be? Would I be satisfied with the last memories and interactions people had with me? Then comes back the object of time. Did I make the most of the time I was granted? Did I seize the day?
Seize the day. That’s a phrase that gets thrown around a lot. But what does it really mean? In my opinion it is not an excuse to ignore the duties you have or an excuse to be an indecent human being. Rather it is a phrase to remind us to stop saying “later.” Per the Merriam Websters Dictionary it states, “seize the day is: to do the things one wants to do when there is the chance instead of waiting for a later time.” Since Saturday night, when I found out about my friends’ dads passing, it is something that has been resonating a lot with me. Throughout the last week I have realized that Carpe Diem can help me prioritize, to decide between now and later so that when I lay my head down at night I feel at ease with my day and my decisions, especially if it were to be my last.
This post in memory of James E. Cornell (1963-2020)
Rest in Peace 1/18/20