Memento Mori

Being a teenager is rough. I certainly worked through my fair share of disillusionment during my run through the teen-to-early-adulthood years in my life. Reflecting on those years from my ‘present’ perspective can evoke some feelings of awkwardness. I would be willing to wager that I am not alone in the thought process: “if I could go back then knowing what I know now, I would do [that thing] differently.”

It wasn’t all bad, though. I remember numerous carefree days with no agenda. I remember walking through manicured park lawns with bare feet on sunny days. I remember friendships, laughter, mischief, and adventure. The memories I choose to focus on create my present reality (or at least my perceived reality) of how I spent my time in those formative years of my life. How I spent my time facilitated those memories. The memories are all I have left for those moments in time.

I loved the band Pink Floyd at that phase of my life. Like so many young people of that time, I lived for the music. I wore those albums out — everything they recorded as a group and as solo efforts. One of the memories I will hold to the end was seeing the band live on June 20, 1994, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. On that tour, the second set was a ‘canned’ run of the album ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’ The third track of that album is titled ‘Time,’ and it starts like this:

“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day

You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way

Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town

Waiting for someone or something to show you the way”

(Gilmour, Mason, Waters, Wright) © Pink Floyd Music

The song, as a whole, explores the concept of time management, coming of age, and the regrets facilitated by an ineffective usage of the limited resource of time that we have. In youth, most of us are inefficient with our time management. Middle age becomes a game of catching up for the squandered hours of our youth. Only in our sunset years do we realize that “The time is gone, the song is over. Thought I’d something more to say.”

It would seem that the answer to the adage “who am I” can be very simply answered with “how did you spend your time today?” What you do with your day-to-day existence ultimately defines who you are. How you choose to prioritize your time cements your values. The byproduct of a day becomes a memory, and those memories become daily entries into your Book of Life.

Memento Mori is a Latin expression from classical antiquity that translates into ‘remember that you must die.’ The meaning behind the philosophy is not morbid — it is a reminder that the most precious resource we have in this existence is time. Every second is fleeting, and until we gain a more significant grasp on the relativity of spacetime, we will not have an opportunity to relive past moments.

The Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca wrote prolifically on the value of time. His target audience existed roughly two millennia ago, but I find his writings oddly relevant to the present.

How many have laid waste to your life when you weren’t aware of what you were losing, how much was wasted in pointless grief, foolish joy, greedy desire, and social amusements — how little of your own was left to you. You will realize you are dying before your time!  Seneca

Throughout the day, I hear friends and acquaintances tell me that they do not have enough time. I feel it as well. This recognition provoked me into running an inventory of where I am placing my daily emphasis. My self-evaluation: Seneca’s statement cited above is accurate. I found room for personal improvement in how I spend my time. I would wager once again that most of us, given the same challenge, would come to a similar conclusion. The raw truth is that we all have the same amount of seconds in a day to work within. Instead of ‘not having time,’ we are stating ‘that is not a priority’ — and that is perfectly acceptable so long as it is comfortable to have that decision as core memory and statement in your Book of Life.

Internal conflict will surface when we recognize our time was poorly spent. I challenge the Heber Valley and all of the readers of this magazine to give thoughtful consideration to what you choose to do with your time. Albert Einstein stated:

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”  Albert Einstein

As you inventory your daily time investments, I challenge the community to explore possible opportunities to make our time more meaningful. Embrace decisions that will enrich the life you lead and bless the collective whole that surrounds you.

Thank you, once again, for continuing to support our independent media voice for the Heber Valley. Enjoy summer 2021!

Publisher, Heber Valley Life magazine

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