There is something I find troubling about quoting famous people. So many of the pithy sayings are sweeping generalities. I feel this way even though all of my blog posts end with a quotation from a noteworthy person
There is one saying that sticks in my craw lately and it regards the subject of personal time. There are several versions of the line by the writer-poet Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “The time for action is now. It’s never too late to do something.”
It’s understandable that this particular quotation appears in gift books filled with inspirational sayings. The quote is encouragement for people who are starting a venture or reigniting some sort of passion. The trouble with quotes like this is the word “never”. Never implies infinity.
The last time I came across this particular quote was at the nursing home where an acquaintance is staying. I picked up the small booklet after she had dozed off for a few minutes. In the context of a place where people are in their final stages of life, the saying seemed rather cruel.
“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.”–Earl Nightingale
A similar situation arises when we hear a sentimental singer proclaiming her everlasting love, “I will always love you.” It seems that such a statement could be up for philosophical and theological debate. Such a promise is dependent upon whether or not there is an afterlife.
The last day of 2017 is only a few days away. It will be too late for those fervent New Year’s resolutions that haven’t been accomplished. It is when we reach the end of an old year and approach the beginning of another that we are most collectively aware of the concept of time.
With these thoughts in mind, I have another pithy quote to ponder. Steve Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma–which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
I thank you for spending some of your precious time reading these words today.