By Michele Potter

As a kid, summers seemed as endless as my imagination. Growing up on a farm, the barn, the creek, the cornfields, and the woods presented opportunities for wild playacting and serious fun. Of course, my brothers and I had to do some chores, but even that was fun in the summer. We grew strong and tanned, and problems of the world were far away.

As a teenager, everything became complicated. I suffered from what I thought was “boredom,” a sense of needing to be entertained and trying to act like an adult. I pretended to be unimpressed by life. Like my friends, I wore an invisible shield of invincibility. I would never get old; time would stretch on indefinitely giving me the luxury of procrastinating. And it didn’t matter how many mistakes I made, either; life would give plenty of do-overs.

I’m not sure at what stage in my life I noticed that the shield had quit working. It took me a while, honestly. The rough and tumble of living should have slapped me hard long before it did. People I loved were lost; heartaches no longer healed. I quit bouncing back so easily. I never got any do-overs. What the hell happened to the time?

Big revelation: None of us have that much time.

I was reminded of this—rather harshly—at a recent family funeral. A cold windy day, most of us complained as we walked out to the cemetery. My uncle stayed back, saying, “I’ll be there soon enough!” Generally known for being a joker and storyteller, he wasn’t joking. Cancer had caught up with him, and time was running out.

We’ll all be there soon enough.

There’s a lot of things I need to do yet. I want to finish that novel I started, go on that bucket list trip, walk in the sunshine some more, and spend more time with my granddaughters before they grow up.

That old grim reaper likes to pick people off when they least expect it. I expect to be one of those protesting, “Wait! I’m not done yet!” From all I’ve seen, I don’t believe he has much patience. But I still have hope of some determination of my demise. Like my great aunt once said, “I don’t mind dying, I just don’t want to go head first.” She passed away at 104, in full possession of her faculties.

Maybe we all need reminders of our mortality. That is the reason for our greatness. If we had all the time in the world, nothing would get done, would it? Starting today, I’m going to make that call I’ve been putting off, take that chance, skip that piece of cake, and maybe get a little exercise. Also, I’m dusting off my novel to see what it looks like now.

What’s on your list?

2 thoughts on “ Remembering Mortality

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