Moms

86,400: Make every second count

24 hours X 60 minutes X 60 seconds = 86,400 seconds
24 hours X 60 minutes X 60 seconds = 86,400 seconds Getty Images/iStockphoto

86,400.

This number has been swirling around my mind for several months, popping like a cork to the top of my thoughts periodically…

86,400 appears to be a large number when standing alone; in fact, I think it seems significant in most contexts…

It started when I caught the tail end of a radio show during which the host asked about his guest’s wrist band which said “86,400 Seconds”.

The gist of his reply: it served to remind him of the finite number of seconds in each day and of the need to make them count.

I’m not sure what it was about the brief snippet that reeled me in…the idea of another message-bearing bracelet or a radically different way for me to view time…

Of course I had to do the math myself to confirm it: 24 hours X 60 minutes X 60 seconds = 86,400 seconds.

Over the course of 7 days, it translates to 168 hours, 10,080 minutes, 604,800 seconds.

I’ve struggled with the concept of time since our life changed-prioritizing and managing it, not wasting it, fully living every moment of it…because time is the one thing we cannot control or ever recover once it’s gone… 86,400 tiny seconds in every day…

My youngest sister Winnie’s birthday was Saturday; a close friend of hers decided to drive up from Florida as a surprise for the occasion. While this may not seem remarkable, late last year this same friend (I’ll call her Bea) was diagnosed with advanced cancer, which hasn’t responded to any traditional therapies…

Upon hearing of the solo road trip, my other sister expressed concern about Bea’s health and the risks of her traveling such a long distance alone.

While I’m certain it wasn’t easy, I told Betsy I really didn’t question Bea’s decision… Maybe her family members had to work and couldn’t ride along; perhaps she wanted the time alone in the car to think; or it could be she wanted to feel independent and free, if only for a little while…

What I found most significant was this: Bea wanted to give Winnie the gift of her presence, on her exact birthday. She wanted to share that special moment with my baby sis, for what may very well be the last time, no matter what it took for her to be there.

None of us know for certain exactly how many increments of 86,400 seconds we will have…

But Bea knows her remaining quantity is limited. It was worth conquering a lengthy drive (amongst other things) to spend some of that precious sum with a dear friend.

“There are 86,400 seconds in a day. It’s up to you to decide what to do with them.” –Jim Valvano, “Jimmy V”

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