Ben Franklin Was Wrong

My wife lost a friend recently. They gave her a week to live. She wasn’t much older than us, but doctors found a brain tumor and … well, that was it.

It was January 3rd when the doctors shared the bad news. She survived for 11 days.

I’m not much of a country music fan, but I do love that Tim McGraw song from about 10 years back, “Live Like You Were Dying.” (His dad, coincidentally, died of a brain tumor shortly before this song was released.)

I had a mid-life crisis about seven years ago. But not the kind where you ditch your wife, buy a sports car and relive your teen years.

Mine went like this: I was 38 years old and suddenly realized that my life was probably more than half over. Man, that hit me like a brick wall. Something about being in the second half of life made me start asking all kinds of questions. What am I doing? What should I be doing? Is what I’m doing important? Valuable? How much time did I waste already on silly arguments, trivial pursuits and all sorts of other nonsense?

I didn’t like many of the answers I came up with, and have since been really focused on trying to squeeze as many sparks as possible out of every day. Some days I do well, other days not so much.

In the Tim McGraw song, when the news comes in that his dad is running out of time, the lyrics talk about how he changed:

I loved deeper,
I spoke sweeter,
And I gave forgiveness I’ve been denying.

I was finally the husband,
That most the time I wasn’t.
And I became a friend a friend would like to have.

Great lyrics. But there’s the mistake we often make. We wait until time is running out to start doing the things we were supposed to be doing all along.

We waste time.

Ben Franklin was wrong when he said “time is money.” I can go out whenever I want and earn some more money. But every day, I’m spending time that I can never earn back.

Hearing about my wife’s friend dying so suddenly and so young was another reminder about how precious time is. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

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Matt McGee

Matt McGee

Matt loves juicy cheeseburgers and ice cream. With M&Ms. (The ice cream, that is. Not the cheeseburgers.) He's also a sucker for beautiful sunsets. Matt is the editor-in-chief of two marketing-related news sites and is one of those weirdos that enjoys public speaking. His claims to fame are having a letter to the editor published in Sports Illustrated and being an extra in Thelma & Louise. (The early scene in the bar. When the camera is on Geena Davis as she's sitting down. I walk behind her. You can only see me from the stomach down to my hips/thighs. Blue jeans and a plaid-style shirt, as I recall. But it's me. Serious.)

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  • Kriste Colley

    This song has always made me tear up! I just finished a book last night (The Timekeeper), and it was about how often we want to speed time up, or to slow it down. We can do NONE of that….that’s the most frustrating thing of all. When you are in a beautiful life, it goes far too quickly. When you are in a miserable situation, the clock never seems to move. Thanks for the thoughts, Matt!

  • Matt McGee

    Thank you, Kriste. Yeah, that song is one of a handful that often makes me tear up, too. Not ashamed to admit it. 🙂

  • Suzy Garza Higley

    Very true! Everyone gets all worried about aging and growing old, but what a blessing to live a long life that allows you to get old and worn out. If i make it to 80 i will be happy to wear those wrinkles, because so many leave this earth with so much living yet to do. I try and notice the details and choose to be happy every day, just incase…