Friday, 17 October 2014

Vicar's Sofa: If you only had one hour left to live, how would you spend it?

'Since time is the one immaterial object which we cannot influence, neither speed up nor slow down, add to nor diminish, it is an imponderably valuable gift' - Maya Angelou*

As I've entered my thirties I have become more conscious of time. Perhaps this is because I have reached the age where my teenage self thought I would have 'made it'. I was convinced that for sure I would have the career thing all sown up, I'd definitely be married and probably have at least one mischievous yet quietly intelligent little rug rat crawling around in a house that I, of course, owned. Fast forward to actually being thirty and besides a wedding ring on my finger I have none of those things and now, it turns out, I'm not even sure I want them at all.

As I child I remember always wanting to be older than I was. Excited to be ten, to finally hit double figures. Excited to be a teenager and get my ears pierced. Excited to be old enough to get into pubs, legally at last! Excited to leave home, to rent my own flat, to do all those grown up things that I'd watched everyone else do, that I'd played make-believe at and impatiently wanted for myself. Time never seemed to go fast enough. Each birthday crept around at the speed of a limping tortoise. The question of precious time never popped up, it was never an issue when I was galloping off into the future as fast as my legs would take me!

But now, not so much. Now I am very much aware that I am making choices in my life that I cannot go back on. That time is moving on and that it is more hare than tortoise. How would I spend my last hour? It's almost impossible to fathom. I already struggle to think how I will fit everything I want to do into this one lifetime I have and that is on the assumption that I will live to be very, very old indeed. Nothing exemplifies this more that my 'To Read' pile which, thanks to many hours browsing in second hand bookshops and a time spent working in one, is bordering on the absurd. If I can't even get through all the books I want to read how can I possibly decide the best way to spend these precious hours of my days?

And yet there are some things that come to mind for that last hour and that remind me how I want to live life now. Things that I do that make my insides do a little dance with how perfect the moment is, how valuable beyond anything I can measure or put into words. Like laying on the living room floor and pulling funny faces at my laughing niece, like sinking down onto my knees to pray and feeling an indescribable peace, like eating a huge piece of cake or hearing the first glug of wine into the glass and raising a toast to my best friends.

I'd probably spend the hour hugging this one, it's the little things!
So I guess I'd like to do something like that with my last hour. To remind myself that though I may never 'make it' in the way my teenage self expected that life is full of such wonder, such unexpected joy, such love. I'd want to remember that and to celebrate my part in it. To celebrate and give thanks for this 'imponderably valuable gift' that is each hour of this crazy little life.

So that's me. How about you? If you had one hour left to live, how would you spend it?

*Quote and question from the book Soul Pancake - Chew on Life's Big Questions by Rainn Wilson. A fantastic book, hugely recommended!

1 comment:

  1. As I have most of my adult life - with my husband. :)