“If I could save time in a bottle… the first thing that I’d like to do…”. Many of us are familiar to these lyrics from the famous song by Jim Croce.
I listened to this song often while growing up in “small town” Sonoma, California in the 1960’s and 1970’s (oops…just reminded everyone how old I am…lol). Back then, “time” was never a huge concern to me, unless it was “time to come back in the house,” “time to eat,” or “time to get ready for school!” Life was so much simpler as a child. We felt like time was an everlasting commodity.
Then I joined the U.S. Navy in 1979, right out of high school. Suddenly, “time” was extremely important! I learned I had better be “on time” to every situation or event in my daily routine! In fact (and my military members and their families will appreciate this), the military wanted us to be on time so much, they ALWAYS had us show up HOURS before our time! 😆. And while I jest at our military methodology, I have to admit, I definitely learned the importance of being punctual and it’s a life skill of which I have greatly benefited.
While I was out serving my country, I met my beautiful wife and best friend, Celia. She will be the first to tell you our “time together” was constantly “interrupted” by my heavy work schedule and a Navy ship, forward deployed, making frequent trips out to sea. Married life taught me another important lesson in time…“sharing time.” I learned I needed to coordinate my time to involve my wife in it, and incorporate her time into mine. And I also discovered a unique aspect of her cultures’ perspective on “being on time!” I learned a new expression called “Filipino Time,” which we like to call “fashionably late” in our western culture! 😳 But just as I had to acclimate to some of her cultural habits, so did she, and she’s much more punctual these days (I said “more”, not “always”…lol).
In the early 1980’s, I became a dad, where I once again learned an aspect of time… “family time.” With children now in the equation, I had to make time for us to all do things together as a family. Not an easy task when you’re a military member, but we all do it. And I had to in turn, teach my children the value of time and how time was important aspect of their lives.
As I’m creeping up in age to my 60’s, one eye on retirement, and the other focusing on my daily life, I’m beginning to realize more and more of my “remaining time.” We all know the only “certainties” in life are death and taxes. While our “end” can occur at any time in our life, we become more conscious of it as we age and realize our own mortality. We suddenly develop a “bucket list” and checklists of things we “still want to do.” We tend to have more regrets, realizing we “missed” our time with certain family friends, or experiences.
If I learned anything during my journey to regain control of my health and wellness, it was to value every minute of whatever time I have remaining here on Earth. Folks would ask me, “Did you lose weight so you could live longer?” And my answer to them has been this: “I do not know when my last day here will be. I trust in God and only he knows when that day will occur. I lost the weight to allow myself to have the best quality of life I can possibly enjoy, until that day arrives.”
I know I will always be eternally thankful for this life I’ve had, the family I created, and the people I have met and got to know along the way. And I’m so happy I did something to improve my remaining time and allow myself to not just enjoy it more, but see the everyday beauty and happiness all around me. I didn’t always feel this way. A year ago I had a much dimmer view of life and people. I wasn’t happy with my life. But getting healthy not only healed my body, it healed my mind and spirit.
My wish to all of you is simple: I hope you will value your time, value your loved ones, value your experiences, and above all, value yourself. Don’t let your time run out, full of regrets and sorrows of a life not lived. Get yourself out there. Get moving. And live!