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Chatterbox: A wrinkle in time


There are many things that come and go in our lives. We, each and all of us, live our life on the daily. We do what must be done and, as we do, every day becomes hours of accomplishment.

Whether we love what we’re doing, hate what we’re doing, or hate it while we’re doing it but love when it’s done, we do it all. We may be fulfilling ourselves with yoga or exhausting ourselves at the gym, excelling at a job we love or laboring at a job we simply must do. The scenarios are so numerous we can’t even list them, and, at the very least, we shouldn’t waste time doing so.

It’s a wonderful thing when we get to do what we love every day. Not many of us get that. Sometimes, even when we educate ourselves so as to do the work we’ve always wanted to do and are actually doing it, we discover we don’t love it. Sometimes, we do all we must to get the dream job, but don’t land that dream job; we find we’re not finding cures for diseases but, rather, spending our days running test results from one lab to another.

Under any and all conditions, one thing remains common: most of us do begin to understand, at a certain age, that life happens fast and most of us have many more dreams and goals than we do opportunities and time to achieve them. Much of what we can do, we won’t do. Even if we love and use every day to the fullest, most of us will ultimately feel there was more – that there had to be something that we forgot, didn’t get around to, do enough of, or do well enough.

Last week, there was some wonderful programming on television (amazing, but true). One documentary followed a young gal who, as a child in the Dominican Republic, dreamed of being an archeologist. She made her dream come true, and had initiated a dig at a tomb that she believed held the body of Cleopatra. She was running out of time on her permit and, of course, “we’ll be back next season …,” but she was giddy with anticipation.

Another program was about a young guy exploring ancient layers of earth on top of a mountain, and trying to make scientific sense of Sodom and Gomorrah.

These people were extremely excited, not only about what their work would accomplish for the planet and contribute to man’s understanding and knowledge, but for the joy in the work they would be doing, tomorrow and the next day.

Also, there’s an older British film I love and have mentioned before. It’s called, “Shirley Valentine.” She’s a character surviving a mid-life crisis, who is still young, but who feels her life has grown old. In one scene, she pines away about all the life she still has to give, which she fears will never be used. She asks herself why we get so much life if we aren’t going to use it.

It’s a valid question and one that many of us ask ourselves at some point. Most of us, eventually, wish we could do it all again, taking our life experience with us; heck, even Maria Shriver wrote a book about that. We all know that’s never going to happen – not to mention that “Back to the Future” taught us that even if we could go back in time, we would totally destroy the space-time continuum.

A life well-lived is one in which we use the information we learn, challenge ourselves and achieve, live to everyone’s best advantage, and enjoy whatever place we’re in. The footprints we leave are for everyone who follows.

Eventually, Shirley Valentine learns an important lesson. Granted, it took much soul-searching (and a trip to Greece which didn’t hurt either), but she finally realizes that only a certain phase of her life is over. She learns that she can refresh and find new joy, renewing her for the rest of her life. We can learn from Shirley, that there are always new adventures for us.

We can also learn from the people whose lives were recently shared in those documentaries: We’ll always have a mystery to unravel or a mountain to climb; time catches up to all of us, even the Queen of the Nile, so all we have is today … and as for the guy who was investigating Sodom and Gomorrah, well, that vital lesson seems obvious: don’t look back!

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