Time, Reflections on a Life Half Lived

Ticking away, the moments that make up a dull day

You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way

From “Time” by Pink Floyd

My lovely wife and I watched Bad Boys for Life last week, and while doing so we saw the effects time had on Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Last night we wanted to watch something light and silly, so we watched the original Bad Boys.

It’s one thing to watch a movie and note that the actors have aged, we all do it, and there were 25 years between the Bad Boys and Bad Boys for Life. However, it’s quite another to watch them a few days apart and see the contrast between just-finished-with-Fresh Prince Will Smith and 2020 Will Smith.

What does this have to do with health, well-being, exercise, yada, yada, yada? You know, the normal topics ‘round these parts.

An hourglass with half the sand fallen


What it has to do with is time. That first Bad Boys came out shortly after I graduated university, now the characters are now middle-aged men, one a grandfather contemplating retirement.

So here I sit, basically the same age as both of those men (Martin is a little older, Will a little younger). Between those movies I’ve had 3 careers, lived in 3 countries (on 2 continents), gotten married, had some kids, and a whole lot more.

Recently, it dawned on me that, medical miracles notwithstanding, I’m now closer to my end than my beginning. My parents are in their mid/late 80s, healthy and vigorous. Everyone on either side of my family (at least those who avoided the pitfalls of booze and cigarettes) has lived into their 80s or beyond.

There’s no reason I can’t expect to make that also (a fast moving city bus notwithstanding), but that is just a wordy way of restating,

I’m closer to the end than the beginning

A Sobering Thought

It’s a sobering thought. Not a tragedy, not depressing, just…sobering.

When you are young and life is in front of you, you tend to be quite frivolous with your time. See that Pink Floyd song; there’s just so much of it, it seems trivial when you waste it. However, while there is a lot of time, it is finite.

  • 60 seconds per minute
  • 60 minutes per hour
  • 24 hours per day
  • 365 days per year
  • 10 years per decade
  • 9 or 10 decades per life

Every second gone is…gone, it’s not coming back, and it’s one fewer left to you. So stop wasting them.

Stop Wasting Time

I used to play hockey with a guy who had 4 kids very quickly, and at a young age. He was too busy running the family business to spend a lot of time with them, and in their teenage years, he was trying to repair the relationships. Maybe he did, but the time, those precious childhood years? Gone.

I know a man who had a falling out with his brother. They lived less than a half hour’s drive apart for decades, yet never saw each other, not even for Christmas. They only reconciled when the brother was dying of lung cancer, and the intervening 30 years? Gone.

Eight years ago I lost my dearest friend to a heart problem. We’d drifted apart through family and careers, but that was no worry, we were in our early 40s and there would always be time to reconnect. Except there wasn’t. I never had the chance to introduce her to my boys and those last few years of friendship and camaraderie? Gone.

Time is too precious to waste, so don’t waste it. Spend it wisely, with the ones who are most important. More important if you need to let someone go, let him go.

Letting Go

My parents have an old friend who has become very angry as the years go on. When GW Bush was president, he was difficult to deal with but with the election of Trump, he became intolerable. This man is in his 80s, and I can no longer stand to be in his presence because he can’t read a newspaper headline without losing it.

He’s been happy for 8 of the last 20 years, but what good does it do a Canadian, in his twilight years, to waste them fretting over American politics? What good does it do anyone to so poison the atmosphere around you that long time friends simply have to let you go?

I miss the relationship we once had, when I was a boy he was a wonderful surrogate uncle, but I’m about health, and fitness, and my family, and hockey, and fishing, not about raging over the politics of another country. He’s become toxic, so I had to let him go.

I had a friend who was a committed, militant atheist. At the time, our circle included serious Catholics, Muslims, Jews, a bunch of Christmas and Easter Christians and, yes, other atheists. We all could talk about anything and everything, for hours on end, unless Big C were there.

You see, he had the uncanny ability to turn any conversation to religion. He literally could shift a conversation about sports, or Star Trek, or the second term engineering course load, into one of his patented anti-religion rants. He was toxic, so we had to let him go.

I’ll bet you didn’t expect me to take you from Bad Boys to here, did you? But I did, and for a purpose. If you are blessed, as I am blessed, with health, a wonderful family and time, understand this, your time is limited. Every tick of the clock is one fewer in your account.

Don’t waste them.