Monday, October 07, 2019

More time ~ my column from Sunday's paper

The refrigerator door is the information center of our house.

On it, you will find a bulletin board, to-do lists, reminders, grocery lists, and magnetic memories from places we visited all around the country and abroad. The freezer door is like a memorial. We have pictures of friends that died in the past few years. We put them there so that we won’t forget the good times we had with each of them. Our visits with them were time well spent.

Our friend Lewis’ picture is near the top of our door. Lewis came into our lives during low tide. He was taking infusion treatments during the years that Jilda was taking hers. They were chair buddies for three years. He was in his late 70s, but he was young at heart.

He ate Thanksgiving dinners with us, attended summer fish fries, and had us over for lunch at his house several times.

During the last year of his life, he spent about as much time in the hospital as he spent at home. We visited him several times during the last days of his life, and he was unresponsive. But the last time we saw him, it was like he got his second wind.

He was sitting up in bed and holding court with several of his buddies. Toward the end of our visit, his mood turned melancholy. He looked at Jilda and told her that he wished he’d met us when he was younger. He was silent for a moment, and then he said, “I thought I’d have more time.”

We chimed in and told him that he had plenty of time. We invited him to an upcoming barbecue at our house. He died the next morning.

The thing is, none of us know how much time we have left. We constantly put things off and say, “We need to that that when we get time.” But, our life-clocks are ticking.

I heard a quote once that fits here: People are so busy making a living that they don’t have time to make a life. I’m not sure who said that, but it’s true.

I squandered a lot of time in my youth. Had I understood at 20-years-old that time was my most precious asset, I like to think that I would have done a better job managing my time. But that’s time that has ticked.

These days I can almost hear my biological clock ticking. I’m thinking about changing the name of my to-do list to the “Things I Really Want to Do” list.

What seemed important when I was 40 seems frivolous at 68.

It’s past time to stop letting time and energy vampires suck the essence out of my day. I’m past the point of fretting over things that mean less than diddly squat.

The memorial on my fridge reminds me that time is a treasure. I don’t want the end to come with me lamenting that I thought I would have more time.

Lewis seated on the right with our friend Burt, Alesha, and Jild at a fish fry.

15 comments:

  1. I recall you writing about Lewis in your earlier posts. You're right, none of us has any real idea how much time we have left. As for being 20 years old and squandering your time, what do you think prompted that old adage about the difficulties in putting old heads on young shoulders? :)
    Alphie

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  4. I squandered my life.

    Love,
    Janie

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  5. Yes, Time is the coin of our lives and we need to be careful how to spend it. None of us knows when the end will come, but all we can do is live each day to the best of our ability.

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  6. I love it. YOu made a great column out of a refrigerator door. Yep friends like Lewis one does not want to forget.
    Sherry & jack

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  7. “I thought I’d have more time.” - Oh Rick, you've no idea how this resonates. It's high time I amend my 'bucket' and 'to-do' lists into a manageable compromise.

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  8. I feel like I've been on a long bumpy flight that has finally smoothed out...dang, was that the wheels coming down.

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  9. What a great story. When he said he thought he'd have more time, I think at that moment he knew he didn't. Cherish those memories.
    Lisa

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  10. Time and health... can't buy either. You said it beautifully here.

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  11. I seem to be reading a lot more blogs like this. As a matter of fact I have one coming soon. You speak the truth. We should live today and also look to the future.

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  12. Dear Rick, since May, when a very dear friend died suddenly and unexpectedly, I have become so aware of my own mortality. Now, I'm embracing living in the present. Being present to the present and to Presence. Peace.

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  13. So many people have the thought that they would have more time when they realise their time is coming to an end

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  14. You are very eloquent and you speak the truth. That last visit must have been difficult and those words stay in one's soul. I hope I make the most of each day even when I just sit on my butt.

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