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Borrowed Time

PokerOur concept of time is messed up to a certain extent.  Not the measurement of time.  Seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc. are effective units to use for measuring time.  It is our relationship with it that may be in need of a revamp.  Perhaps I am only speaking for myself but I generally don’t think that I’m so unique to have a completely new thought.  Time is something that in our younger years we waste so often it is as if we believe that there is an infinite supply for us.  Then as we get older, we lament its passing, wishing that we had some of that wasted time back.  It seems that the only people who truly grasp the limited resource which they have are the people who have a brush with their own mortality.  There are a multitude of stories including George Lucas, Franck Ribery and so many others who gained clarity from a near death experience.

For me, I was too young.  Too young to remember and I never got the lesson.  When I was two and a half, I had meningitis.  I almost died.  Despite knowing this story since I was a kid, it never really sunk in that I was working with borrowed time.  At this moment I am forty one years into a lease on a life that easily could have passed by already.  So what does one do with this realization, even if it comes extremely late?  Like so many things in this world, the first thing is most likely to be grateful.  None of us is owed anything in the world.  So gratitude for all that has sprung out of that borrowed time is the most natural course.  Then comes the projection forward.  If you’re playing with house money, do you play it conservative only betting on the best odds?  Or do you look for some long shots that would pay off big because let’s face it you were supposed to be cashed out long ago?  I’m sure that you had a gut feeling about what you would tell me to do.  The question is can you follow your own advice?

We’re all living on borrowed time.  It doesn’t matter whether you’ve beaten a terminal disease or been healthy as a horse since birth.  It’s not completely up to us when we cash out.  So with that little bit of clarity from your gut, you need to decide, what are you doing with the chips that you have today?  There’s no particularly wrong answer, just an answer that’s right for you.

Deal ’em!

Pete

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Choose Your Near Death Experience

Rocky Feet

This photo was taken on January 18th 2015 at approximately 7:15am.  If you don’t recognize the location, this is the top of the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art affectionately known as the “Rocky Steps”.  The relevance of the time and the date is that it was lightly raining that morning but the temperature dropped suddenly and the steps became extremely slick.  About thirty seconds after I took this photo, I started my descent, slipped and fell on the steps.  My upper back and pelvis both hit the points of two steps.  I lay there on my back for a moment with no air in my lungs trying to decide just how hurt I was.  Thirty seconds after standing on a spot of personal inspiration, I was on my back wondering if I could get up.

After peeling myself off the ground and determining that I was battered but not broken, I slowly worked my way back to my hotel.  As I walked, I thought of how close I could have been to real injury.  The “what if” question ran through my mind several times when finally, my thoughts rested on George Lucas.  His fate was changed by a near fatal car accident.  It changed his entire perspective on his life and what he was doing.   Many people have near death experiences that change their lives forever.

The key to the near death experience is that it reminds us how temporary life is.  We often forget for long stretches of time that in essence we’re dying.  The number of tomorrows that we will get is limited.  So today’s value is enhanced because we got so close to not having a tomorrow.

Rather than waiting for that experience to come, shouldn’t we just choose it instead.  Choosing a life that recognizes how close death could be.  What if your actions of today were what determined whether or not you got a tomorrow?  How would you live?  Would you have any doubts about the things that were priorities?  It all becomes clear when tomorrow isn’t a guarantee.