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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What you learn on your 49th birthday that you didn't know on your 29th.


My grandfather on my mothers side died of a stroke/heart attack suddenly when he was 59. Just like that. There were no warning signs at all. He went out of the convenience store he operated with my grandmother in 1976 to the car on the street to get something and he didn't come back. They found him dead in the car.
My grandfather on my fathers side lived well into his nineties, even though he suffered from polio as a child and most died from that as children in his day. He was very healthy for most of his life. I can't really think of a difference in the way either lived their lives. One just got the shorter end of the stick.
You just never know how much time you have left. But as you approach 50, you realize that the clock is ticking down against you either way. It could be 1 year. It could be 10 years or it could be 50 years. Since most don't live past 90, in all likelihood you have less left than you have already used up.
When you are younger, you never really put thoughts like that together. When you approach that age bracket you start to. 
Today I washed the milk container after I'd finished the first packet of 3. They give you 4 litres but they divide it up into three packets. If you time it right, you can use all 3 up before it goes sour. Most times, you get to the 3rd one and somewhere along the way the milk goes sour. This day--my birthday--packet 1 is finished and I inserted packet 2 into the container. Still very fresh. Exactly one week after I bought it at the grocery store.
Either way, every couple of weeks, you can just go back to the grocery store and get more milk. There is always more milk. And it is pretty cheap. Easily replaceable if you waste the milk and don't get to use it all up.
When you were 29, you thought there were always more years. It never really occurred to you that you might have lived more years than you had left. Or that you even had a lot less left than you realized. If you even thought about it at all. I don't think I did, but I don't remember either way.
That isn't the case anymore. Turning 49 makes you realize that there isn't an endless supply of milk at the life store. So, what you learn on your 49th birthday is that you have to make them all count. All the days. You can't simply keep wasting the 3rd packet and just replace them when you run out. 
Life doesn't work like that. Milk works like that. But, if you live them to the fullest, the way you want to, you don't think about replacing them. You are too busy living the next one to be concerned that you wasted the previous one. And then they are all gone one day, and you don't care because you have used all the milk you were given and you don't need anymore. 
You wont live each day to the fullest, because none of us will. That isn't realistic. Life gets in the way of living life sometimes. But what you can do is at least try when you can to do that and not look back at what was and waste what is now there because you are trying to make the sour milk fresh when you can never do that. 
You will never achieve all that you want to. Life doesn't work out like that. But you will at least know that you tried to. You might fail. Or you might run out of time, but you will have made the effort because you realize tomorrow might not come.
All you can do is try to do is make the most of the milk you can still have and not waste any more. 


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