“If it weren’t for the last minute nothing would get done.” (Unknown)


This is a great quote. I wish I knew who said it because it is so true. How many of us spend our whole lives in one constant attempt to squeeze one more thing into the last minute? And then, when we get to the latter stages of life, the last minute becomes a literal deadline. One minute we’re here and the next minute we’re not.

My earliest memories of working with my father were always about time. We had clocks or timers attached to all of the equipment associated with photography. Tenths of a second mattered more than hours or days. That sense of urgency is deeply imbedded in my psyche and it made me who I am. I’m hard-wired with an internal clock that is so precise I don’t even need an alarm clock. If I set an alarm clock, I will invariably wake up five minutes before it goes off. The only time it failed me was after a 37 hour work marathon that stretched over two days. I woke up long enough to turn off the clock but then I went right back to sleep. Thankfully, I had great employees and one of them bailed me out on the next deadline.

Time is the one thing in life that is completely irreplaceable, yet we treat it like there’s an unlimited supply. I can promise you there is not and making the most of it should be our highest priority, not an afterthought. I know my years, months, weeks, days, hours and minutes are numbered and I want to get the most out of them before the clock stops forever. That’s partly why I chose to work with foster children. For these kids, every good minute is a blessing because they are few and far between. I try hard to give them a little relief from the unrelenting turmoil that comes from broken homes and childhood trauma. No kid should ever have to grow up in a system where time stands still.

The problem for all of us is that time is unpredictable and precarious. We don’t know what is coming and we don’t know how much of it we will have to spend. We wake up every day expecting time to behave rationally and it bites us in the butt. The phone rings, the line at Starbucks is out the door, traffic is crazy, a dozen emails need to get answered and the meeting runs long because someone else has no sense of urgency at all. It’s now 3 PM and the day’s work is just getting started. Where did it go? What happened to our carefully organized plans for the day? All we can do is take a deep breath and make the best of it. We stay a little later to get caught up, we steal a few minutes after dinner to answer more messages and we get up a little earlier the next day to try again. All the while the clock is ticking and your life is too.

My advice to those of us who want to get the most enjoyment out of every single second of our existence is this, don’t let your life become a race to the finish. We all get there eventually but the lucky ones understand the value of meaningful moments along the way. And for me at least, those moments usually include an act of kindness done for someone else. I try to remember to say thanks as often as possible. I smile at people in the store and help little old ladies with their shopping carts. I tell jokes whenever someone needs a laugh. I’m not going to change the future but I can change that exact moment in time into something positive for that one other person.

For me, time is an experience that begs to be shared with as many people as possible. We’re all going through this life together and every connection we make is a precious chance to gather another minute from someone else. When I add my minute to their minute we get two minutes of shared enjoyment. That’s really the best kind. We’re just two people coming together for the sole purpose of expressing our humanity. We get more by giving more.

I want to invest my remaining time in people, nothing else. I want to do things every day that make me appreciate every second and I want to do them with you. Let’s all look for ways to make a difference in the lives of others. Let’s share the joys of life as often as possible with everyone we meet and let’s not wait for the last minute to get this done.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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About grhgraph

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3 Responses to “If it weren’t for the last minute nothing would get done.” (Unknown)

  1. Karen says:

    Your message is beautiful and I thank YOU for your wise words

    • grhgraph says:

      The older I get the more easily wise words come to me. Thanks for reading and your thoughtful comment.

  2. pritesh says:

    Very true and well thought, but not practical…

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