Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | February 1, 2013

20,754 Days of Life

Time FliesAs of today, I have been alive for 20,754 days. However, when it comes to measuring the length of our lives, we tend to do so in increments of years rather than days. When others ask us how old we are we reply by telling them the number of years we have been alive. Children, however, will often add months to the age-equation by saying, for example, that they are whatever “and a half” years old.

Adults don’t care as much about adding the number of months to their current year on the planet. They are content with simply rounding things off to the year and leaving it at that. It is, after all, easier to keep track of the number of years we have been alive than it is to remember the number of days we have been hanging out on the planet.

When it comes to the matter of living, we tend to measure our lives in terms of days rather than years. We tell others what we did today or ask them how they spent their day or look forward to what we will do tomorrow. Days provide a more manageable framework for speaking about the decisions we make, the things we do, or the progress or setbacks that we encounter along our journey.

In Psalm 90:12, Moses prayed, “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.” There is something potent about numbering our days or living with the awareness that our time on earth is brief, even if we live to be a ripe old age. David understood this when he wrote, “Surely every man at his best is a mere breath” (Ps. 39:5c). In other words, in the really big scheme of things our lifetimes amount to no more than a few seconds on the planet.

Understanding that our time on earth is brief should motivate us to live wisely and to make every day count. To do otherwise is to waste the most precious and irreplaceable resource we have — our time. Because we cannot know with any certainty how many days are still ahead of us, we should heed the mantra popularized by Robin Williams’ character in “Dead Poets Society” — Carpe Diem!

The Latin phrase “carpe diem” is popularly translated “seize the day.” More accurately it means to “pluck the day” in the same sense as one would pluck ripe fruit from a tree. The extended version of the quote is, “Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero” — which means “Pluck the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.” It’s a warning to make the most of the time we have.

There is wisdom in reflecting on the number of days we have been alive. And, the realization that we are allotted a limited number of days should motivate us to make the most of every day we have. I personally like the advice of Stephen Grellet (1773-1855), a prominent Quaker missionary, who said: “I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” That’s good advice for living wisely and making the most of every day.


Responses

  1. Happy Birthday Omar! (1 day belated),

    This is such a great reminder of what really matters in these limited days we have on this planet and how they can effect eternity.

    God Bless,

    Chad

    • Thanks, Chad. Actually my birthday is April 7. I just had this idea to figure out how many days I had been alive and wrote the blog about making the most of the days we have. Always appreciate your comments.


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