Making Every Second Count…

Now, you might be mistaken into thinking that I am about to introduce you to an old game show – “Welcome to Every Second Counts!” . But no, I’ve actually been inspired to write this waffle for some time now, but even more so since I have had yet another birthday and time appears to be ticking by. As part of my new year’s resolution, I have decided to be more positive about almost everything and this got me thinking about time and how much we have of it to enjoy life. And hence the title of this waffle – “Every second counts….”

I was sat in my office this week when I had a visit from one of my favourite professors. People often have stereotypical views about professors but one which does actually match this one is the immense amount of knowledge they have. After catching up with the usual topics – Christmas, work, the weather – they started to talk about their current books they are writing. I often marvel at the thought of writing a book, whether it be fiction or academic. I suppose I could try to add all my waffles together and publish them? Any book publishers listening? Anyway I digress. One of his book project for children currently in process is one relating to death. This is not a series of books about grieving it is a series of books actually engaging with death and has the title which includes the word mortals. Mortals always reminds me of Greek mythology and the constant battle between the mortals and the immortals of the planet. Is it at the beginning of the the cartoon Ulysses where Zeus shouts out the word- “Mortals! you defy the gods” – the rest of the speech escapes me. No matter how much we try not to think about death we are of course mortal and our lives are very much finite so should we be worrying about that or actually embracing it?

One of the unknowns of the life is when the actual time of our ‘natural’ death will occur. As you might remember I am an avid Miss Marple follower – Joan Hickson is definitely the best. I might be wrong with this next fact and, although I could sit and watch all the DVDs I have of the sleuthing spinster of St Mary Mead, I don’t have the opportunity while writing this in Costa to check it out. I think in either “At Bertram’s Hotel” or “Nemesis” she mentions the quote from Psalms about our life expectancy being three scores and ten. With a score being twenty, that would put our timely demise at seventy. As we can see from looking around and enjoying time with how elderly relatives this has, for some people, be able to be expanded somewhat. Technology has actually jumped in here and has through the use of death clocks, started to predict the date of our natural death. You enter information such as your gender, alcohol consumption and even your height and weight for it to calculate your BMI and it predicts the date and time of your passing. Just to warn the people I play Mythras, one prediction says a Friday in the year 2048 for me, so there will be no session that week! Although you might want to avoid these calculators if you believe in self fulfulling prophecies, I have to say that I have used quite a few and the dates vary greatly…one was just on Christmas Eve – so don’t waste your time buying me presents that year!

But as well as the predicted date, they give you something else. A countdown. Yes, a physical representation of the seconds literally ticking away before your eyes. It suddenly hit me that although the date is purely subjective, the seconds ticking away was very true. I am sure that if I woke up every morning and saw these seconds ticking away I would be out of bed and enjoying them as soon as I possible could. Even relaxing and spending time by myself – a very regular occurrence for a singleton – I would be thinking should I be reading, extending my knowledge, writing or even chatting to my mum on the phone – rather than watching the latest episode of Dancing on Ice. It almost make time and life a lot more real for me and hence the title of this waffle, every second counts.

But, just as you thought this waffle was coming to an end, there is another element of these death clocks which I wanted to share with you and one which supported this year’s resolution. There is an option on every single one of them to choose how you live your life with, among several others including neutral, optimistic and pessimistic both being present. Interestingly enough the difference in the end/due date is almost 30-50 years. Yes, according to the death-clocks, having a more optimistic outlook of life can make you live longer. Now, I’m not a medic or doctor, but I am I going to believe this one wholeheartedly. My new year’s resolution, and target for this year, is to be more positive in everything I do. I have my doubts at times, but I try to banish them as soon as they arrive, often by singing the “I have confidence” song from The Sound of Music. I’m not doing this because of the death clocks or even my chat with the learned professor. I am doing this because I think it is about time I changed my outlook and started to enjoy life and be more positive about everything and focus on that, rather than on what I am achieving or what other people think. I’ve been there and got the t-shirt and have decided to put them away in the bottom drawer and forget about them.

Just to finish I would like to leave you with a comment which was text to me from a colleague while they were listening to Radio 2 after we had been talking about the death clocks. Although this is probably misquoted the essence of the point was this. “We have two lives: One starts when from when you were born; the other starts when you realise that you only have one life.”“. And I can’t think of a better way to finish this waffle.

So, until next time have fun and I’ll catch you all later and, until then, make every second count and consider yourself waffled!

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