The Value of Time


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” —Mark Twain

My wife posted this quote today on her Facebook page. As usual it stoke the fires of my imagination of the time I have left in life,  and of the stories that I will finish before my life lapses. From this quote I created my own that will appear in my current mythological story, the fourth of nineteen.

“There is nothing more of value to the mortal than time, and time well spent. All possessions, accomplishments and domination over others ultimately falls into a never ending darkness and sorrow.” 

Stop and think about this for one second. When the twin towers of 9/11 fell, all those that lost loved ones would most likely sacrifice all the worldly possessions for more time with those they lost. We rush to build another tower to replace the two fallen and in the new tower of steel and glass we pour our memory of the fallen and pride against our enemies. What if they should fall again? We live in very dangerous times where a new sickness is taking hold, yet we refuse to see.

In the song, Dust in the Wind by Kansas, there is a simple lyric that rings true, “All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see.”

This is then followed by,Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky. It slips away, and all your money won’t another minute buy.”

To some this is a depressing song.  To me it is as inspiring as the quote by Mark Twain.  As Gandalf might say, the world is out there, it is not in the books, maps, video games, smartphone apps, homes, cars and other worldly possessions. When did we sacrifice reality for virtual reality? Central to theme of my mythology is the difference between the worlds of the mortal and immortal. Tolkien in the Silmarillion stated the mortals were given a gift.  That gift is knowing the fleeting nature of life and how every moment should not be wasted.

Should we work our entire adulthood merely resigned to the comfort of a padded retirement account where a large portion may pass to the next generation?  How much does happiness cost?  Would you trade all your possessions for one opportunity to live on a beach, to hear the never ending sound of the crashing of waves, and the sensation of warm salt water and sand rushing through your toes?  What would you trade to have the sight of tropical vegetation appear before you year round?  What is the value of trade winds blowing through your home and to have no wrestling with the A/C, and then waiting for the late afternoon shower of rain that cools the air and replenishes the ground?  This is what calls out to my soul.

Most people I know are still in the career aspect of their lives.  Many have passed from disease and heart failure.  They enjoy going to loud basketball games or enjoy cocktails at loud restaurants.  Me?  To each his own, but for me I am recharging the mind and body for the final days of discovery.  I want no time wasted, no regrets, no sorrow for the time I was given.  Should I die in my early sixties from a rambunctious journey of rediscovery, then so be it.  Sitting around watching the 24 hour news cycle in anticipation of evil’s next move, arguing over the lies of politicians, playing video games, watching videos on the smartphone is a waste of my valuable and limited time. So is the need to experience an altered world through alcohol or drug abuse. When I am physically unable to enjoy the natural world, created for enjoyment and discovery, then I will have all the time in the world to finally reread the classics, write more books and rediscover the artist in me.

For 33 years I have dedicated the entirety of my soul to being the best professional I can be.  At the height of that, I thought I had made it to the top of my ladder, only to discover, there is so much more on the other side of  The Wall (Another Kansas Lyrical Classic.)  The value of mortal time became apparent to me.  The photo above is of me and my son when we took time and went caving.  This venture of discovery cost a whopping $8.  With us were my son’s future brother and sister in-laws, and his future wife.  To me, this was a priceless moment, one memory that cannot be destroyed by the vain attempts of man, but only the passing of this mortal life. Somehow I will find a way to include the following thoughts into my stories.


We ventured into the darkness, not knowing if we should encounter danger or the end of our time, yet our souls ached for the discovery. In the darkness we were fully aware of our other often disregarded senses. Yet, even though some fear ran through the course of our veins, life followed behind fear, like an army overrunning the enemy, until fear had been defeated and we stood yet again before the light. And in the light we rejoiced for the moments that had just passed, wishing time had marched to a slower beat.  We were united as one in our simple quest. At the moment light returned to me, I realized I was truly alive and that true happiness surrounded me.  It is our mortal nature to cherish these moments and to set out on the next great adventure, for time knows not, nor cares for your future desires.


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