The longest song I ever played on the air was Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie which is just over 18 minutes long. We played this on the classic rock station (and sometimes on the oldies station) every Thanksgiving. To those who love the song, it was the perfect length. To those who hated the song, it went on too long. Their feelings about the song depended on their perception of time. (Incidentally, the shortest song I ever played on the radio was Her Majesty by the Beatles. I think it clocks in at just over 20 seconds long.)
Time. I have found myself thinking a lot about time over the past month or so. I have had the word “time” written on my list of blog topics for a while, but have never felt that I am ready to blog about it. In all honesty, I am still not ready, but I had to write something to clear my head.
There is no shortage of great quotes about time:
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst” – William Penn
“Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing” – Miles Davis
“Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted” – John Lennon
“Lost time is never found again” – Benjamin Franklin
Time is one of those things that is constantly moving. It moves second by second. Hour by hour. Day by day. Year by year. The truth of the matter is that time is constant. 3 minutes is 3 minutes. How one perceives that 3 minutes depends on the situation. In some cases, 3 minutes can feel like 10 minutes. In others it can feel like just 1 minute. Think of an 8 hour work day and compare it to 8 hours on vacation. Vacation time is flying by while the clock at work moves slowly.
Earlier this month, Facebook was flooded with “First Day of School” pictures. My friends posted pictures with captions that read: “Where did the time go?”, “Wasn’t she just in kindergarten?”, “How did he grow up so fast?”, and “Last First Day of School”. I can relate to that last one as my oldest son started his Senior year this year. My Facebook “Memories” feed has been full of my own kid’s “first day of school” pictures, and I, too, have wondered those same questions.
So why am I rambling about time??
In my 49 years on this planet, I have lost many people close to me, many at a young age. Some of them, I have blogged about: my mom (who was only 58), my grandpa (mom’s dad, also 58), my radio buddy, Rob (only 56), and my Uncle Tom (just 68). This week, I found out a good friend passed away unexpectedly at only 47 and another friend was basically told her days are numbered – she is 48. I can’t imagine how time will proceed for her.
I understand that death is a part of life. I am reminded of a quote from my psychology class that said, “The hardest part of losing someone isn’t having to say goodbye, but rather learning to live without them – always having to fill the void, the emptiness that’s left inside your heart when they go.” This is so true. Leo Buscaglia said, “Death is a challenge. It tells us not to waste time.” Also true. Bruce Lee, who died at the young age of 32, said, “If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”
I sit here staring at this computer screen and my thoughts are all over the place. Is this blog about Time or Death? I don’t know. I guess they both tie together somehow in my mind. I guess Life also ties in with them. “Live every day as if it were your last. Someday, you’ll be right.” That quote, which I read on the band room announcement grease board 31 years ago, will always remain with me.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that those three things (life, death, and time) do all go together. Looking back at the people I have quoted, they have all passed away, yet their words are still here making an impact. I guess this proves the quote of another person who is no longer here. The late author Terry Pratchett says this: “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.”
I still talk about my mom – ripples.
I still tell stories about my Uncle Tom – ripples.
I still laugh along with Rob when I listen to our old shows – ripples.
Thinking of my buddy Rob, I remember ad-libbing a poem on the air about an upcoming station event. He looked at me and his Elvis character voice he said to me, “Man! You’re a real Carl Sandburg today.” It’s probably a coincidence that I have a Carl Sandburg quote about time to share:
“Time is the coin of your life. It’s the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” – Carl Sandburg
As I re-read this blog, I realize that it is a jumbled mess of thoughts. For that I apologize to anyone who has ever read my blog and said “You’re a good writer.” Usually my blogs have a point to them, I am not sure this one does. Hell, I don’t even have a title yet! I really wish I had planned this out a little better. Tell you what, for now, let’s say this blog is a “tease” to the “real” blog about “time” to come at a future date. And as far as the point, or moral, or lesson? Uh….how bout this….
Make good use of your time and live your life so that you will be forever causing ripples.