Running Out of Time

Was it Buddha who said that we make the mistake of thinking we have time? Regardless of who said it, it’s true. We wait until later, until tomorrow, until the kids go to sleep or finish school. We waste time and assume we will get more of it. It seems plentiful, doesn’t it? How many minutes today did you spent on Facebook or Instagram or watching television? And that is not to say that those things are necessarily “wasting time,” but to what extent are they the best use of your time? To what extent are you using your life in the best possible way? How well are you valuing the time you have with the people in your life?

My relationship with my ex-husband was a difficult one, filled with conflict and misunderstandings. Interactions only became more difficult as time went on, even though I’d hoped they would become easier. When he said he was going to Ireland from May 8th to May 25th of this year, I remarked that I thought that was a long time to be away, considering other circumstances that were happening in our lives. But, on May 21st he had a heart attack and would die from complications on June 2nd. Now, a long time has become forever. I will never see him again, never argue with him again, never again roll my eyes when he shows up at the door, never cringe again when he texts because I know it’s going to be a difficult interaction. My God, did we waste time. We ran out of time before the relationship ever got any better.

I’m sure you’ve run out of time in a relationship too, if not from death, then because of some other circumstances or barrier that prevents you from saying what you wish you could say or hearing what you wish you could hear or doing what you wish you could do. Running out of time is hard. It’s unsettling. It haunts you. These are the ghosts that walk beside us, invisibly taunting and nagging us, wanting attention, wanting resolution. 

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The unsent letter is a helpful writing technique for trying to work through the unfinished business of life, and grappling with the loss of time. Click here for more information about unsent letters.