Each month, I find myself more and more amazed at how quickly the preceding month as faded into history. When I start updating the dateline on the pages of the newspaper, I marvel at how quickly 2009 became 2010, and how January suddenly became June. The days may drag on, hour by hour, on the slowest of the slow days; but, when taken together, they race by and leave only a scant trace of their passing.
I remember those of prior generations warning me years ago that, while I might be in a hurry to grow up, or to be older, there would come a time when it would all happen much faster than I wanted. Like all advice from my elders, I ignored that sage item and decided that it must just be the rantings of "old timers."
It's my turn to rant!
This was my 11th graduation to cover for the News. I started covering them in 1999, on the eve of the new millennium. It now seems so far away and such a long time ago. This year's graduates were in elementary school when I first took my place on the sidelines and took pictures of the senior class. Now, they are packing up all they can get into their cars in preparation for a new life full of new challenges.
When we get older, we find ourselves less prone to procrastination. In our youth, it means nothing to say, "I'll do that later." With each passing year, later comes at us faster and faster, and our opportunities to do things pass us by if we don't seize them and act upon them. One of the recurring themes I often heard from elders back then, and that I hear often enough now, is, "If only I had done it while I had the chance."
Every day is an opportunity. When God is generous enough to allow us yet another chance to open our eyes, roll out of bed and hit the floor, it is an opportunity to take advantage of other opportunities. Each moment that we live, we have choices made or ignored, and they affect all that follows.
I personally do not adopt the idea of missed opportunities. I believe that, if I ignored something or made an alternate choice, that in itself was an opportunity. I would hope that I made the right choices; but, I don't believe in agonizing over what might have been. Instead, I celebrate what new choices I have because of the paths I've taken. I don't allow myself to wonder if I should have taken the other job, stayed in the relationship, moved to the other city. If we spend too much time worrying about what "might have been," we start to miss out on what IS.
I remain constantly aware of the fleeting nature of time, and I cherish the moments that God has granted me. That's not to say that I don't waste time. Like everyone else, I occasionally enjoy just doing nothing for a bit. I makes me more appreciate of the accomplishments I have when I put everything back into gear and actually become productive.
None of us knows the days that we will walk this earth. What we do know is that we can do great things on scales both large and small during that time. The waste would be if we decided that our contributions are too insignificant to matter. Like George Bailey, we all need constant reminders that we play important roles in the lives of everyone around us, and without our presence, the paths that others take would be completely different.
So look for me as I move through these days of my life, and you through yours. We overlap in our shared lives, and I thank God every day that He has allowed me to make the choices I have and to share them with the people that I love.
It’s all just my opinion.