Counting Down The Clock


The recent high-profile deaths of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and baseball legends Harry Kalas and Mark Fidyrch have left me thinking — more than usual — about my own mortality.

For my own part, dying, while something I think about more frequently than I imagine I should, is still something I only find comfortable dealing with if I’m doing so in a more abstract fashion.  When death hits close to home, however, and I have to deal with it in an immediate sense — as I recently did following the sudden passing of a beloved aunt — then I find myself incredibly uncomfortable, and the effect death has on me is extremely noticeable to the people I interact with the most.

You see, I’m the person who has trouble staying composed during a wake or a funeral, and I’m the one who’s pretty obviously moody or depressed during the immediate aftermath.  As I’ve told my wife, I don’t handle death very well — and I shudder to think how I’ll react when the day comes that it’s my parents, or my closest aunt, or heaven forbid, maybe even my spouse who’s making that journey to the next life while I stay behind to mourn.  This effect is likely due to these moments being not only a time for me to grieve about the loss of someone close, but also periods that I find I’m the most introspective about my own place in the world and the impact I have on those around me.  Usually, seeing someone near to me pass away leads me to a period of self-reevaluation, for better or for worse.


Yet even when it’s not someone who’s close to me personally, I often find myself still affected — like in the case of our trio of high-profile sports figures.  As I may have mentioned before, I didn’t know any more about Adenhart or Kallas or Fidyrch other than what I’d read online or seen on television.  What kind of person were they really? I’ll never know — but I’ve still had the feeling of loss hovering over me for the last several days.  Maybe its because of their passings are a reminder of memories of my past that will never be recaptured, a really sobering train of thought if you choose to take it.  Or, as I said the other day in my piece on Adnehart, their deaths were also a wake-up call to me to be mindful of just how fortunate I am in my life — and a grim reminder that it can all be taken away in an instant.  There’s a lesson about life’s fragile nature there that I want to keep with me every day — but will I actually do that?  Or do I even want to?  Is living one’s life telling yourself continuously that each and any day could be your last an approach that will lead to true appreciation for life — or to utter madness over time?

I will grant that it’s moments like these that I really start looking at my own ledger in life — and after a strict evaluation, I usually find myself coming up wanting.  I’m steadily nearing my 40th birthday — and I’m reaching a point in my life where the number of days I have remaining are very possibly fewer than the days that I’ve already spent on this earth, and that’s when I start wondering if I’ve truly done enough with the life I’ve been given.  What will be left behind of me when I’m gone?  Did I make a difference?  Did anything I do really ever matter?  Those are questions I don’t usually like asking of myself since the answers I seem to give don’t tend to be all that positive.  Again, is it a road to enlightenment I’m following by thinking this way — or to something worse?

Tick- Tock.  Tick-tock.

I’ve already spoken somewhat on this blog about my desire to write, and the need for me to be working on this blog as an attempt to further that ambition.  But every day has been a tough one, trying to juggle working on the novel and this blog while trying to still make money and running a household.  My wife and I want to have children, but we both feel the clock ticking down on our time to do so, and we’re getting worried that if we don’t make that decision soon, we won’t have the family we both wanted when we got married.  I’m the last of my immediate family line, and I wanted to have a child to carry on my name, and to be someone I could impart whatever level of wisdom I had to them.  What do I do if that never happens?

Tick-tock.  Tick-tock.  Tick-tock.

There are so many things to do — for all of us — but every day we live seems to go by faster and faster than the ones before it.   I don’t want to think too much about the past, and I don’t want to think too much about the future.  But I can’t ignore the clock ticking away in the background behind me.   So I’ll write this now, and I’ll call my parents tonight for no particular reason, and maybe my wife and I will talk tonight when she gets home again about that family.  A line from one of my favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption, is, “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”  True that.

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