As we enter a new year, it’s time to hit the proverbial reset button, where old things end and new things begin. The resolutions we make are really an acknowledgment there’s more to do, as we’re running out of time. As I get older, time just seems to pick up speed. It seems like it took forever to reach 21, then I woke up one morning and I was 50. As clocks tick and seasons pass, it’s obvious time is the most valuable commodity of all, frustrated by the randomness of how much each of us is allotted. The old saying, “There’s no time like the present,” has to be the understatement of a lifetime, because there’s no guarantee there will be any time beyond the present.
My mom passed away at 50, one year younger than I am now, which is pretty bewildering. I’m just getting started at a time she had already wrapped things up. Whatever Mom lacked in quantity of life, she more than made up for in quality. No matter what, she was never in a hurry and loved to linger, right up to the end.
From my earliest memories, when she tasted something delicious, she would insist I take a bite. When she smelled something nice, she invited me to take a whiff. When she heard a good song on the radio, she would turn it up and ask me to sing along. For some reason, as I got older it bothered me. When I asked her why she did it, her answer was always the same, “I like to be happy, and this makes me happy.” About a week before she died, we took a walk, where she remarked about birds and leaves and smells of all sorts. And there it was again, “This makes me happy.” I was completely oblivious, but I now know that was my mother’s last and most important lesson to me.
Sports often mimic life. We have the luxury of having a clock or knowing the number of holes, quarters or innings to play. We know exactly how long the game’s going to last, altering our strategy based on how far ahead or behind we are. In life, there is no clock, or at least not one we can see. It seems there are two types of life-time. The kind we track on our wrist is quantitative, objective and measured. It’s also not within our control. Then there’s subjective time, which is the kind we track in our hearts. It’s personal time measured through our memories. And if we’re lucky, this is where most of our lives are lived.
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Seasons, sights, sounds and smells, a reminder it’s not over until it’s over. Every minute we’re still here we have the capacity to be joyful and get better, to bind up with good and work on behalf of what our souls direct us toward, before the worm gets our bodies.
Like sand through the hourglass, so pass the seemingly small moments, a subtle reminder to us all of the brevity of life, regardless of how we measure it. As we turn the page on another year, with whatever time we have left, let’s endeavor to just pay attention, knowing that it could mean something. It could mean everything.