How much time do you have?


“I really think you should sign up for these courses, continue on with this. You are such a great student,” said the college advisor to the soon-to-graduate student seated across the desk from her.

Darlene, the terminally ill student, shifted in her seat and replied, “I don’t know. Is it worth the effort? I mean, I don’t know how long I will be here.”

“Neither do I,” the counselor quipped. “The truth is that none of us really knows how long we will be here. What have you got to lose?”

Darlene, who died not long after that exchange, once shared this story with me. I can still see her face, that soft smile. She told me that it really struck her, because after years of battling lung cancer, death was an imminent threat to her. At the end of the day, time is time – no matter who you are.

Our conversation left me overcome with the feeling of just how unaware I am of the passing of time; well, except for when I’m visiting my folks and stumble across one of my old prom dresses, and realize I will never fit into it again. My thigh alone would never fit into one of those dresses again.

If I am not proclaiming how little time I have to get everything done, I’m tossing dreams, goals and visits with friends into my “later” pile. Later is when I will have the time. But I never have the time. Time has me.

I want to affirm that I will make it my New Year’s Resolution to not just say that I am grateful for every day, but to live as though I honestly accept that I don’t know how much time I ultimately have. I hope I follow through.

I always thought it would be fun to do a story in which I interviewed various people on New Year’s Eve. The question would be, “What was your resolution last year?” How many people would actually remember? I don’t.

I re-visited my neatly written list of self-improvement promises from the previous year. I guess I vowed that I would no longer procrastinate. I am not even trying to be funny here – I put that off. I thought I had to sit down and come up with a plan. Suddenly, it was something that would take a bit of time; time that would magically appear later.

Time is right now, this moment. I am typing. You are reading. What do you want to do? What would you like to accomplish? If you are waiting for the right moment, this is probably it. So, instead of blaming that tick-tock, ask yourself why later looks like a much better time. Has that ever worked in the past?

If there was any light to be found in the darkness of the death of my scholarly friend, Darlene, it was the hope that can be found in right now, and each moment that is gifted to me after this one.

Happy 2016.


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