The notion goes, “You never know what you have ’till it’s gone.” Time and time again, I’ve seen this hold true in my life. I’ve owned things I thought to be of little or no value to find that when these things were lost to me, I was left with a bitter yet tiny hole in my heart. I’ve had people in my life I deemed to be mere acquaintances, to find my soul yearning for these conversations over once more. I’ve had so much time to spend that I felt no urgency to spend it on something worthwhile, so it lays in my past, squandered. Moments of gold have passed me by while I was too focused on doing nothing to notice the priceless opportunity’s knock. Looking back now, I am much more confused about it all than I probably should be.
As I sit here looking back on my life, I can see all the wrong turns I have taken. Memories of bad choices jumping out at me like a gecko’s tongue to a fly. I can see how stupid I was back then to, over and over, cycle through reckless behaviors and why I never got anywhere in life. I have absolutely nothing to show for the first 20-odd years of my life- A properly wasted youth. It’s easy to fall in the trap of thinking that my life could easily have been fixed if I had taken the time to think ahead. The truth is that I know so many things now that I did not know back then. And for better or worse, I have grown to be a different person. In honesty, it’s kind of like looking at the life of a stranger and making a poor judgment by the cover.
The one thing that changed my life was the birth of my eldest daughter. It was really then that the proverbial veil was lifted from my eyes, and I came to see all that I have squandered away before then. You see, the thing with motherhood, and in particular single parenting, is that as soon as you’re gifted with this miracle of life, you cease to exist as an individual. I am sure that statement will set many people off in a fuming rage, but I don’t mean it in a maleficent way. My time was now divided between my daughter and me, and as I spent more and more time caring for and raising my daughter, I came to realize just how finite a resource time is and how I undervalued it in the past. I also saw that she deserved more than I could give her at the time, and I was not going to be making any progress towards the life I wanted to give her by working for a corporate. My daughter, even though she could not yet speak, brought clarity to my mind and helped me see that the road we were on was not the right one for us.
As a single, working mother, all freedom of time has now gone. And, as you guessed it, I am so disappointed in myself for not being able to see the value of time while I still had it to spend freely. If tomorrow I had one day to spend on the things I have to squeeze minutes out of my days for, it would equate to a month’s worth of work. I had it and did not treasure it, and now it is lost to the past. Even though I am so pressed for time, I would not go back and change anything. Corny as it sounds, all roads have lead me here to where I have the necessary life experiences and knowledge to know what is important to me. I am sold that I would not have gained this clarity any other way.
In this story there is something to take away and ponder on; What are you taking for granted each day of your life? Is it a friendship? A freedom? An opportunity to grow? Perhaps you will be lucky enough to see it before it is lost to you, like time is lost for me. And if you do see it, embrace it and make the best of it. Because all in life is fleeting, and we are none of us promised anything but the last breath we take.
We are none of us promised anything but the last breath we take.Tad Williams