By Becky Cook

As John and I prepared to retire (the first time) in 2000 we purchased a large, circular mirror which is modeled after an old fashioned pocket watch. The reflecting glass is encircled by clock-face numerals, but there are no time-keeping “hands” on the piece. It struck me that retirement living should be about NOT having to watch the clock, and therefore this non-clock mirror would become the signature addition to the decor of the home we were building for our retirement years in Lake Lure.

Funny thing, retirement at Lake Lure has turned out to be anything but “retiring”. We quickly became involved in many activities, including volunteering, church activities, golfing, as well as part time jobs at the resort. Here we are right in the midst of the activities which put us right back into “racing with the clock” on every turn. A long slow tub bath, a 90-minute massage, an afternoon lost in my current favorite novel, have become elusive dreams. Seems like each day needs 30 hours, not just 24.

Of course we can’t be satisfied. When we have too much time on our hands, we’re sad in a different way. My dear fragile Mother spent a lifetime (103+ years) selflessly caring for others. And yet, in her final months, when she was mentally and physically impaired, she repeatedly stated she had too much time on her hands and she felt useless.

Everyone’s days are numbered. And, barring suicide, no one knows when their time on earth will come to an end. The Bible gives us promises about the perfect life and the absence of the constraints of time which we will find in heaven. Further, we’re admonished to use our earthly time frame wisely. The rub comes (for me) because there is also a command in The Bible to allow ourselves a day of rest for each 6 days of work. [SAY WHAT!?]

Perhaps it takes planes flying into tall buildings, wicked and deadly storms, multiple acts of terrorism, mass murders, and inexplicable brutality within the ranks of law enforcement persons, to mention a few, to jolt us into realizing that every moment we have is a gift to not be taken lightly.

The next step, of course, is a little self-examination and the realization that changes may be needed to fully reach our goals. Let the dishes go. Take a moonlight walk with my husband. Say “no” sometimes when someone asks for help in a worthy cause. Keep the handwritten snail mail going with my granddaughter. I really can choose. And, it’s truly o.k. to allow yourself to be spoiled. Even if it takes a little time!

At my age, I should be well trained in managing time, just from experience. My prayer is that it’s not too late to learn new habits. Therefore, I look with new meaning at our retirement clock. I’m reminded that time is precious, that today. . . .  .even this present moment. . . . is all we have. Forward movement of the hands of the clock is not an issue. It is a given. I want to challenge you to make the most of every moment every day!