Folks are becoming more conscientious about climate change and protecting our natural resources — or they should be. Clean air, natural gas, forests and other natural resources are precious commodities. Environmentalists and scientists have issued dire warnings that our environment (yup, the very place that sustains us) is under siege. There is little talk, however, about the most precious resource that we possess — time. Yup, Father Time!

As a two-time widow (no pun intended) I speak from the heart. I often wonder how much precious time was wasted on the things in marriage that can drive either or both spouses up the wall, into another’s arms, or into divorce court. One would think I’d learned my lesson the first time around — maybe, maybe not! Sometimes, the lesson needs to be learned again and again. Nowadays, I may have finally gotten it right, but my success is hard to gauge. I haven’t a spouse with whom I can I test my new-found enlightenment.

Back then, it seemed as though life contained an endless supply of days, but in reality, the “eternal now” is all that we are guaranteed. How many of our “gifted“ 365 days do we spend on nonsense? Think about it: The he said/she said stuff that drives us to distraction or the insults real or imagined that we volley at each other are big time-wasters.

The biggest “time-suck” is Facebook and other social media. Scrolling, scrolling and scrolling while hurling insults at folks we barely know is a poor substitute for human contact. If you knew the really-real world would end tomorrow (although of late, I wonder) would we be posting comments on Facebook or other social media or be engaged face to face with our loved ones.

Life isn’t forever, yet we persist in holding our precious grudges close to our hearts. We let our losses and disappointment define us. The bitterness we hold towards life’s curve balls contorts our faces — and causes wrinkles to boot! (Good reason to let it go!) Folks who hold on to unhealthy emotions are prone to rudeness, sarcasm, and a host of other disagreeable traits. Unfortunately, these folks are likely to explode on the innocents who cross their path.

While the clock is ticking, many folks are sitting at home bemoaning the lack of passion in their lives. My unsolicited advice is to seek it out. Don’t let the word “passion” frighten you. According to tabloids or movies, passion means the abandonment of reason or a reckless pursuit of pleasure. I don’t buy that. Passion, in reality, is authentic living. Find something you love and do it.

Of course, our “scary monsters and super creeps” (aka fear), may rear their heads at this time. Our destructive companions may tell us we are too old to embark on something new. Let me remind you that while we are sitting on the couch dwelling on the impossibility of a new adventure, the clock is ticking away.

Some folks become stuck in never-never land where they cannot move their feet. Talking about what they want to do, ad nauseam won’t change a thing. Folks sometimes wait for the perfect time to declare their love for someone, have a baby, end a relationship, take a vacation, change jobs, buy a house or —you get my drift. For heaven’s sake say what you want to say, do what you want to do. Tragically, waiting for the “perfect time” can easily morph into a lost opportunity.

It’s so easy to live on auto pilot. Do we realize how precious a commodity time is? Judging from the aforementioned time-sucks, I wonder. Prioritizing how we spend our time is paramount. We can overdose on Netflix (which I have done) or awaken with joy and gratefulness (which I have also done).

When I choose the latter, everyday miracles seem to have appeared at my doorstep. I have this quote on my desk from Marcus Aurelius, the second-century emperor  — he writes, “Short therefore is life and narrow is the corner of the earth wherein it dwells.”

Above all losses, time is irreplaceable and cannot be redeemed. Something to think on while the clock is ticking.

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Celia Marszal-Iannelli
Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in 'retirement' — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.