Do Not Wish Your Life Away

Wooden hourglass 3 / CC BY-SA

This time each year I remember a conversation with my grandmother as though it happened yesterday, even though it is over 40 years ago now. At the time I was perhaps 14 or so and she was in her 70s. It was around Thanksgiving time, she had come to visit us and have Thanksgiving dinner with us.

My younger brother and I were excited about the coming of Christmas and we were saying we wished it were Christmas, we wished the weeks between then and Christmas would pass away and we could “fast forward” to the night before Christmas.

That was when my grandmother gave us some of the wisest advice I’ve ever heard. She said, “Oh, do not wish your life away. Life is so short and when you get to be my age it passes so very quickly by.” She again urged us not to wish it away. Every day is precious as we have only so many of them on this earth.

I turn 60 next year and am about 15 years younger than my grandmother was then, but I already experience the much faster passage of time that we experience as we grow older. I am now experiencing what my dear Grandmother knew all too well and could not find a way to teach her young grandchildren. We did not see time passing quickly. To the contrary it seemed agonizingly slow. The hours, days and weeks before our next big event in life passed so very slowly to us.

Life is like unraveling a spool of thread or string. When you start the spool is fat and full and turns slowly as you draw the string off. Three feet of string results in perhaps only a dozen rotations. As you pull more and more off the spool spins ever faster. Near the end of the spool, to pull off three feet of string spins the spool dozens of times. Its time is passing so very quickly, just like life toward the end of our time here.

This is just as difficult for young people to appreciate as it is obvious to older folks. But in fact there is no guaranteed long life. All of us have and end date and none of us really know when it is.

Life is precious. Every hour of it, every day, every experience, is something to be experienced and savored (well, perhaps except the trips to the dentist). If you find yourself wishing you could fast forward to a future date, perhaps when current misfortune is upon you, or when some future event is so exciting you cannot wait to get to it, I join my Grandmother in cautioning you not to wish your life away. It is too short. It is too precious. If you are fortunate enough to live to old age you will look back and wonder where it all went so quickly. You will wish so much you could slow it down.

Thank you grandma, you were so correct and so wise.

In loving memory of Catherine (Hensler) Murphy, November 5, 1894 – July 7, 1985.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.