You can outwit the time bandits

I still remember how I felt as the noisy train rumbled down the track and came to a screeching stop in front of the Lowville station. In one way, I was full of excitement. But at the same time, I felt very sad.
Excited, because I was leaving for my first year of college. Sad, because I only had recently celebrated my 16th birthday and didn’t know how I would survive for three-and-a-half months with my parents 500 miles away.
Fortunately, I loved college life and the state of Virginia. And I soon forgot my initial loneliness.
I made good friends the first year. But the second year, I had an especially close group of friends—two from Virginia and one from Washington, D.C.
As natives of the area, my friends enjoyed showing me the historic sights. I saw the Smithsonian Institution for the first time and listened in on a Senate session with Vice-President Harry Truman presiding.
I was entertained in an old Virginia mansion and shown around the Charlotte University campus where Edgar Allen Poe wrote “The Raven” in 1845.
My friends and I shared our disappointments and our dreams. That was a special year and we all hated to see it end. Promising to write to each other and see each other when we could, we all left with tears in our eyes.
Since that time, I’ve seen Evelyn only once. I overlapped with Hilda at a different college three years later. Helen died 10 years ago after a 30-year battle with multiple sclerosis.
And my parents, who stood at the train station to see me off to college, are both gone.
Sometimes it seems that time is a bandit, writes Amy Dean in her book, “Growing Older, Growing Better.”
“A heartless bandit that steals your valuable jewels of seconds, minutes, and hours and hides them so well that you can never retrieve them,” she notes.
Time robs us of good friends and our parents. Time robs us of health and our jobs. Time robs us of our children as they move to faraway places.
“Time bandits have existed since the beginning of life. But their thefts may have only recently become more evident to you because you see the large accumulation of yesterdays and realize how quickly your todays are flying by,” explains Dean.
But there’s no reason to be overwhelmed by the passing of time. In Dean’s inspirational book of daily meditations, she offers advice on how to outwit the time bandits.
“Trying to hold on to time . . . or lamenting the things you can no longer do because of the passage of time can never get you more time or restore that which you once had.
“Time can’t be protected, set aside for later, watched over, or hoarded,” writes Dean. “From now on, cease agonizing over the passage of time: time’s going to move on.”
The only way to beat the time bandits is to make the most of the time you have. Spend your time enjoying your time!
So every day, do the most important things first. Be nice to people. Have fun with your family and friends. Consciously celebrate each new moment and the adventures it brings, and learn to get the most out of time as it passes by.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist.

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