Pat Webdale: Try to make the most of your time on earth - The Buffalo News

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Pat Webdale: Try to make the most of your time on earth

My View is a highlight of my morning. It has made me laugh out loud and alternately caused tears to flow. There is nostalgia, advice and opinion. Recently there was something else. When I read the article by Adele R. Haas, there was a punch in the gut. Her thoughts were not my thoughts exactly, but more like a reprimand to some of my current warped thoughts. She wrote about “our time” in our life and “our turn” on this earth.

It has been on my mind lately that, at the age of 72, I am running out of time. As I ponder her poignant essay, I realize that I am doing some selfish worrying. I have been around for a long time and if I have not “done it all,” I have done a lot of it. I was blessed with six children and now 10 grandchildren and even one great-grandchild. I have been to Europe and Hawaii and once crossed the United States via automobile, enjoying the view from sea to shining sea. I have enjoyed good food and wine, music and flowers, sunrises and sunsets. I have laughed, cried, grieved. I survived a mild case of polio. I have friends and religion. I believe in God and my country. I have had relatives in several wars and they all came back home intact. Why should I feel entitled to any more than that?

It could be that by the time we have been lucky enough to be here going into an eighth decade that we are sorry for the times we have wasted time. I realize it is not too late for me or any of us. While we are still on the clock, we can make the most of our time. When I think forward to the time of those who will be here on earth after me, I lament that I will miss graduations and weddings of the grandchildren I hold so dear. When I look back, I realize that those who left the earth before me must have had similar feelings. The grandparents and great-grandparents who loved me dearly would miss being part of my future. It is all the way it is supposed to be. Life is a procession. Those who came before, those who will come after and those in “their time.”

There is something to be said for appreciating the time that was given to you. My parents lived through wartime and rationing, but Dad was excited about flying to Chicago on a prop plane for business. Mom got to talk on the party-line telephone. It was a thrill for them to buy a 10-inch black-and-white television for us kids to watch Milton Berle and “Howdy Doody.”

My time encompassed the joys of reading and writing the old-fashioned way and stretched out to introduce me to new technology.

Those who sacrificed throughout World War II gave us the gift of freedom. I feel great compassion for those who, like myself, have lost a child before we perceived his or her time to be up. Death does not discriminate and chooses randomly through war, disease or other tragic events.

I have invented a mantra for myself to keep time on my side in a gracious way. I remind myself to “stay in the moment.” This is a philosophy so often touted, but hard to adhere to unless you make a conscious effort to be present to whatever is happening now. Next is to be grateful for what you have. You can say a prayer or make a list to be mindful of what your personal gifts and blessings are. Last, do the best you can every day.

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