“I’m afraid to die before I’ve really lived,” he said.
Funny the things you talk about on late shifts. We stood over our tank of coating suspension, the peristaltic pump chugging the soupy, white mixture from one tank to the other. I don’t know why we were talking about death–death by drowning, death by fire.
I paused. In my hand, the hose bucked and splattered goop on the shiny steel receiving tank. “Yeah, I know what you mean.” But in my head I thought, but how do you know that you’ve really lived? As I thought over my twenty-four years, I realized that I’d packed lots into them. I’ve travelled, I’ve graduated from college, I’ve written a book. But had I really lived?
A couple weeks later, a school friend’s nineteen year old brother died in a drowning accident, and it brought the subject back to my mind. My own brothers were going out to the lake, and inwardly I shouted don’t go! I want to keep you here!
I suspect that the years we have are never enough once they’re gone. I had twelve happy years with my Grandma (Mom’s mom) before she died of cancer. But when I think about her I remember that, the last day I saw her healthy and alert, I spent playing video games. Would that one more day have been enough? No.
It annoys me that people say “Two more days until Friday.” When I catch myself saying “My shift is half over,” I rebuke myself. Heck, we spend tens of thousands of hours at our jobs, but we’re so eager to just get them over with. My Grandma (Dad’s mom) told me, today, that the older you get, the faster they go. It’s like being pinned to a railway car, flying downhill toward a brick wall (she didn’t say that–I did). But we are unmindful. We try to make our railcar go faster!
What are the chances we get to the end of our lives and decide we’ve ‘really lived’?
I’m realizing that I need to be a heck of a lot more deliberate with my time. I’ve got to dream, then make goals, and then work my butt off before my railcar reaches the bottom of the hill.
Dan Waldschidmt said “We all want that extra 6.25 years of conquest. But when we have a zillion minute by minute considerations just to decide whether to stay in bed or get up and ‘conquer,’ most of us choose comfort. It seems small at the time–after all, it’s just one hour. But the results are life changing. Literally. The decisions that you make hundreds of times a day build your future. They all count.”
I’m not doing well in this area right now. After the release of We are the Living, I hit a big-time slump. I’ve yet to pull out entirely. My blogging has been sporadic. I have little interest in social networking. I don’t feel like writing. My new project has been neglected for days at a time.
It’s time to kick my own butt. If I can make myself go running after an exhausting workday, when my knees hurt, or when it’s cold and raining, I guess I can make myself write (do what I love!).
There isn’t a moment to waste, is there?