“Dying people lie too. Wish they’d worked less, been nicer, opened orphanages for kittens. If you want to do something, you do it. You don’t save it for a sound bite.” ~Greg House (played by Hugh Laurie), House M.D.
If you’ve ever watched House M.D., you know every time you want to hate House, you end up hearing the truth in his cynicism…and then slightly hating him for being right. Some times are easier to be criticized than others, but either way when our egos get involved, it’s game over for personal growth.
We lead increasingly busy lives (we all miss “the good ole days,” don’t we?), and more often than not we find that we have no time that can be identified as “free.” Free time doesn’t really exist. And it’s not because we’re so busy with our lives that we take no time for leisure; it’s because as long as we’re alive, we are continuously occupied. Whether we’re at work or laying down on the bed, staring at the ceiling, we’re not “free” in the true sense of the word. If we’ve got 24 hours per day to be alive, then we have 24 hours per day that we are not free.
Great. We never have free time. Your optimism is so bright it’s blinding, High-Clip.
Aha! But that’s not the point. We’ve got 24 slots to fill every single day. That’s 24 opportunities to act the way you wish, whether it be eating, sleeping, working, hiking, talking…you name it. Yet, every 24 chances, we tell ourselves (myself included) that we don’t have time.
Can you climb this weeked?
No. I don’t have time.
Can you have fresh, clean dinners during the week? Maybe meal-prep on Sundays?
No, I’m busy.
Do you have a girlfriend? Do you read? Do you have hobbies? Do you make art?
No, I don’t have time for any of those things.
Like House comments, if you really want to do something, you’ll do it. If you want food to eat, you’ll grow it yourself or work in order to buy it. If you want to stay alive, you’re going to go to sleep every night. And, as it turns out, these two activities take up most of our 24 slots every day. So what about your time in the mountains? Well, if you really wanted to be hiking through the prickly brush, you’d save up your cash to get out there. So what about that climbing mentor program you wanted to start? If you really wanted to help the youth through climbing, you’d have made that laminated poster after work last Thursday evening.
But what are we stuck doing? Staring at the clock, begging time to pass by just ONE minute slower so that we might get a moment longer to talk to our best friend. Asking for this route to just extend a foot higher so that we might get an extra few moves in before anchors. And how does time respond? That benevolent guy we all know time to be gives us another 24 HOURS to do with as we choose. Yet, we make the same mistake. Again. Asking time for another second in a hug, another route to climb before we leave, another scene before the movie ends…as if we hadn’t the time before. As if we didn’t already have the chance, or 24 of them. As long as we’re alive, we’re occupied. One day, we won’t have another 24 opportunities to ignore. It will be our final 24. And none of us will know it. But we’ll know that we didn’t have time.