I’m sitting in an airport lounge with two hours to go until my flight.
It’s an uncomfortable process, on a good day.
I haven’t eaten anything (besides an unsatisfying Starbucks coffee) and probably won’t have a proper meal until tomorrow.
Outside, the sky is cloudy and grey.
Inside, strangers with blank faces surround me. They drink, scroll, and wait in silence for boarding.
These long travel days can be easy to wish away:
To put my head down, turn my mind off, and wait for the time to pass.
Maybe I’ll watch a movie or two (I heard the new Guardians of the Galaxy is pretty good).
But otherwise, it’s tempting to make today a write-off.
This isn’t my taxes, this is my life.
Every moment I waste in this bleary waiting-game is a moment that will never come again.
An image appears in my mind:
I’m sitting on a doorstep, lighting dollar bills on fire.
One after another, they fall to the ground and turn to ashes.
A shocking thought, when I compare the value of this once-in-a-lifetime moment to a single dollar bill.
Reality washes over me like ice water:
Every moment is a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
The moment you finish reading this sentence, the moment is gone.
Forever, full stop.
Never to return.
How many of these moments have we burned through, blurring the time in boredom?
This isn’t some new-age philosophy, this is a fact of life we can bet the house on:
Time is passing, whether we spend it half asleep or fully alive.
Now, please understand:
I’m still stuck in the airport, and soon I’ll be stuck on a plane before being stuck in a car for a long drive home.
We can’t always change our circumstances.
But we can always change our awareness, attitude and actions within those circumstances.
(a boring, mindless day for one person can be endlessly fascinating to another…)
So this is a message to myself, that I hope will hit home for you as well:
Wake up. Open your eyes. Look around.
This is your life, and it’s passing you by.
And when it’s over, and you’re tallying the checks and balances of your time on this planet…
Make it all count.
P.S. These lyrics from Pink Floyd feel like a good way to end today’s letter:
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your hometown
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way
Tired of lying in the sunshine
Staying home to watch the rain
And you are young and life is long
And there is time to kill today
And then one day you find
Ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun
See you back home 🙂