Be sure to use your gift of time wisely

In spite of my age, I’ve never really felt old.
With one exception, that is. And that exception was many years ago.
I had gone to school most of my life, and taught the rest of it. I had travelled in the summers and served in many places of need.
I had worked with farm migrants on the East Coast and children on native American reservations in northern Minnesota. I knew how to navigate New York City and Chicago on my own.
I felt grown-up and maybe just a little worldly-wise. And now I was celebrating my 25th birthday when suddenly it occurred to me I had lived one-fourth of a century.
The next major marker would be a half-century and after that three-fourths of a century!
As the truth sank in, I was filled with panic about time. Time flies, I acknowledged. That’s it!
And no matter what you do, you can’t hang on to it. You can’t stop it. You can’t extend it by one minute.
And what’s more, as time flies, it threatens to steal the life you love.
“Time flies” wrote Shakespeare more than 300 years ago. And 200 years before that, Chaucer had written, “Ay fleeth the tyme.”
Then going back even further to the first century A.D. and the first century B.C., Ovid lamented time as “the devourer of all things” and Virgil wrote “Time is flying never to return.”
It was Andrew Marvell in the 17th century who called time a “wing-ed chariot.” A wing-ed chariot that can’t be stopped.
We would stop time if we could, or at least slow it down. Make the years last twice as long. And give the days an extra hour.
Extend the joy of living. Secure the future.
We’d love to do all those things, but the truth is we can’t. We can control a lot of things in life but we have no control over the passing of time.
There’s only one thing we can do with time and that’s to say thank you for the gift and use it wisely.
You are now living in the year 2012, and no one who has been given that gift of time should ever be caught saying, “I don’t have time.” If you are alive, you have time!
What’s more, you have a mind to make decisions about how to use that time. How to keep yourself from being “too busy.” How to keep yourself from squandering the most priceless gift of all.
There’s no better time than now to set goals about time. What is it that you’d like to accomplish in 2012? What would you like not to do? What committees would you like to leave? What committees would you like to join?
And most important of all, what would you like to be given permission to drop from your life? You are the only one who can give yourself that permission.
So think about it as you live in the present and prepare for a new year.
No matter how time flies, you have time. And what you do with that gift can make an enormous difference in your personal life and in the world.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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