Something I realize as I get older is that time is a finite resource.
Dealing with my mental health during the better part of the 2010s, it is also something that I have lost a lot of.
A motivational speaker I watched on YouTube a few months ago spoke about the date on a tombstone; every tombstone is the same, it has one’s birth date, a dash and someone’s death date.
While I can’t remember the name of the speaker, his message resonated loudly with me.
In short, the dates on the stone don’t matter; the dash is the most important part of the stone.
The dash is the part where someone makes an impact in the life they have to live. It is where they make an impact as a parent, a child, a researcher, or as human being in general. The dash is where memories are made and legacies are created.
Recently, I had the — relatively last minute — opportunity to join a friend in Calgary for a concert for a pair of country acts.
In the past, I likely would have said no due to work commitments, the rushing around, the crowds and a million other excuses I could find.
In fact, I did initially say no due to other commitments I had going on. However, to the credit of my wife, she got talking to me about the opportunity to spend time with friends and pushed me to challenge my excuses.
We came up with a workable plan that allowed me to do what I needed to do and still make it down to Calgary for the concert and the time with friends.
I’m glad I did. Not only did I have a great time, but I also came to the realization that making time for these moments is what life is about.
Granted, not everyone has the time, finances, or luxury of juggling their schedule around and taking off to the city for an overnight adventure. I’m also not saying you need to.
Take that camping trip with the kids or go to their game or recital. Make time for coffee with friends or family. Play with your dog. Make time for the little things; they matter, and they are what memories are made of.
I know I lost a lot of my thirties due to my mental health. I missed weddings, funerals and time with friends.
We only have so much time given to us in this life and we never know when this ride is going to come to an end. This concept is discussed in a song by country group Rascal Flatts.
The group has a song titled “When the Sand Runs Out,” the title a reference to how life is often measured by an hourglass, and when the last of the sand falls, life ends.
In the song, they talk about a friend who spent their life “spinning his wheels” and always playing it safe before passing away. They sing about coming to the realization that is not how they want to be.
“I’m going to stop looking back, and start moving on, and learn how to face my fears,” the group sings in the chorus.
“I wanna be running when the sand runs out.”
After losing so much time in the last decade, and not knowing what the future holds, making the best of today is all I or anyone else can do.
From here on out, I’m making the best of the time I have before me, because I don’t where I will be when the sand runs out; but, like the song says, I know I want to be running when it does.