We all think we’re going to have more time. More time to chase our dreams. More time to spend with family and friends. More time to tell someone how we feel about them. More time to get our work done. More time to do one thing or the other. We know that time is not something that’s promised to us and yet we live as if it is. We live as if we know how much time we have for everything. We constantly put things off, and we procrastinate, and we just waste the time that we’ve been given because we think we have it to spare; we think we will always have more of it.
A friend told me a heartbreaking story recently about a couple she knew that she had become close to. Recently and surprisingly, the man passed away leaving his wife that he had been married to for decades. The couple had no children – it was him and her. He was here one day and he was gone the next. The details surrounding the story were tear-jerking but it’s not my story to tell so I will simply leave it at that. And that’s how life is. One day people are here, the next day they are not. One day, you and can I could be here, the next day, we couldn’t.
One of my favorite quotes supposedly from the Dalai Lama, whether it is authentic or yet another one of those unreliable internet attributions is the following:
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered, “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die and then dies having never really lived.
I think if we’re honest, many of us can see ourselves in this quote. We are all always living from moment to moment and yet one of the hardest things for us to do is to just be in the moment. And because we struggle with being in the moment, we make up for it by thinking that more moments and more time is guaranteed. If only we get this or achieve that, or overcome one thing or another. We tell ourselves that then; we will be able to enjoy the present moment or make it count. But there is always something to get through or overcome. And moments pass us by and we pass through the motions, thinking that that our moments are unending.
But they aren’t. If there is anything humanity can agree on through all our differences of creed and culture and all the rest of them, it is that we are all, in this human body, definitely and unequivocally are going to die. That is a fact. And maybe the thing that truly scares most humans about death, and the thing that no one likes to say too often or even think, is that none of us know when it is going to happen. We live like old age is a birthright given to us. But it is not and we should know better because most of us have known many or at least some, who we thought had more time. But their time was cut short. Maybe all of our times are cut short.
We all think we’re going to have more time. But we don’t. And we will probably never have enough time. We don’t even truly have the time that we are given — it is just that — a gift. We don’t know what the next moment will bring, much less tomorrow. I don’t have more time and you don’t have more time. We have now; all we truly have is the gift of now. So do something with it. Chase your dreams now. Spend time with your loved ones now. Tell that person that you need to tell how you feel about them, now. Don’t waste time, don’t spend it unwisely, or put things off that really matter. Because the clock is ticking; the clock is always ticking, and none us have more time.