San Diego – One of the reasons that getting old really sucks is that you reach an age when your friends start leaving this earth for another plane of existence. You sort of expect it for the old farts that are your age or nearly so. But it is really hard when the young ones go way before their time. John Burgar was a student of mine at City College. A kind, gentle, generous bear of a man John was enthusiastic about life and especially about his photography. He really wanted to be a professional but life kept getting in the way. He had the skills and foundations to do it but chose to keep at the “real jobs” in his life to build up a better financial foundation. And besides, there was plenty of time since he was still a young man.
Plenty of time.
Plenty of time… How hollow that sounds now. At 45 he died of a heart attack 10 days ago. It has taken me a bit to actually write this because it seems so cosmically unfair. I never recall seeing John without a smile or positive outlook no matter what was happening in his life. He had a wonderful laugh full of joy and sincerity. He was a great person and good soul and 45 is much much too young to have lost him.
What it points out clearly and graphically in the darkest, grimmest of ways is that waiting to tell people that they mean something in your life because you think there will be “plenty of time” to do it later or a better opportunity or whatever excuse comes to mind is a horrid mistake because you just never know. Some things make no sense. I’ve known death on a first name basis yet have managed, at least until today, to survive and thrive; sometimes when others around me did not. Several of my other good friends and close acquaintances have gone on… Jim C, Jack D, Bob H, Candy M, Bob C; and of course all of my family and my parents-in-law are all gone now too. But all of them were blessed with rich, long lives. It is sad that they are not here now for me to chat with or ride the river once more, but it is OK, they had their time. It is not OK that John died at 45. Not OK at all.
Bottom line: there is never ever plenty of time. So use “now” as wisely and lovingly and respectfully of life and this very moment of it as possible. Don’t ever let the people that matter in your life, even just a little, face the risk not knowing it if, God forbid, they or you suddenly come to the end of your own time before you have told them. Are there people in your lives that, if you suddenly realized you were dying quickly, you would wish you had told something, shared something, done something but now could not do. Then do it now.
There is never plenty of time.
And if there is something you are passionate about, don’t let excuses get in your way. Do it. Do it now and throw all of your passion and effort into it. Even if it does not work you can at least say you tried your best and that alone will set you apart from much of the crowd around you. Most people, their lives ruled by fear, live (as Thoreau opined) lives of quiet desperation. Their dreams on terminal hold, their true loves unspoken, their real mettle untested, their hopes unrealized and their fears all become self fulfilling prophesies, they reach the end filled with sadness and regret. Do not ever risk that. Don’t wait to start on your “bucket list” until you are on your death’s bed or too enfeebled to even try. Do it now. Trying to hold on to time is like trying to carry sand in your arms.
There is NEVER plenty of time.