………. wait for no man. (Geoffrey Chaucer).
This fact is as relevant today as it was when King Canute commanded the waves to retreat as a demonstration of his omnipotence…..
“Canute began by being a Bad King on the advice of his Courtiers who informed him (owing to a misunderstanding of the Rule Britannia) that the King of England was entitled to sit on the sea without getting wet. But finding that they were wrong he gave up this policy and decided to take his own advice in future – thus originating the memorable proverb, “Paddle your own Canute” …”
(Seller & Yeatman, 1066 & all that)
(“Rule Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves” is from a song of 1740 by Thomas Augustine Arne)
So it didn’t wait then and it doesn’t wait now. Despite the Rolling Stones utterances that “Time is on your side” ….. it really isn’t. It is neither with you nor against you, it passes relentlessly, and we work around it. That’s why we have watches, clocks and on-going digital time displays on all our devices. The plane will not wait if we are an hour late, nor will the movies start sooner if we rock up an hour earlier than the advertised time.
Time passes, end of story. Life passes, and the amount of time we get to live it varies according to circumstance. We can never know how much time we will have. When we are young we feel invincible, there will always be plenty of time, we can look forward to more and more pleasures – or more and more heartache. Sometimes it seems that there is too much time available. If life is too testing, too miserable, too stressful it can seem that the pain will be never ending – but it always ends, one way or another.
Sometimes, if we are in a good place, time can seem to fly by all too quickly. There is some truth in the adage ‘time flies when you are having fun’. We cannot control how much time we have – or how quickly is will pass, but we can control how we use that time.
“Life is the sum of all your choices” is a quote I often use. Decisions, pathways, choices, and priorities all govern how we navigate the world around us, through the time we have at our disposal. I have always thought that one of the great sadnesses as one grew older would be to have regrets which haunted one’s thoughts. ‘If only ….’ ‘I really wish I had done …’ or the worse case scenario ” I really have wasted my life”.
Age creeps up, and is sometimes followed by illness which is destined to end the time available to live life. Is it too late to make all the right decisions then? For some people the illness overtakes the age factor. A young child dying of cancer has really not had the chances to make the mistakes, or sample the euphoria’s inherent in life.
When I reflect on my situation, and how I have lived my 67 years, I cannot but be grateful for the time I have had, and determine to be grateful for the time left to me. When I see heartbreaking pictures of children suffering from this dreaded cancer – and other diseases – how can I be anything other than grateful for where I am. What I do with the time left will challenge my resolve not to ever say “I have regrets.”