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The Clock

Do you have to be sick to live? I mean really live, not just stumble through your day like a zombie glued to your mobile device or race around in a blur like a mad person, but really, truly live.

Spending your days fully engaged in your life, every moment a revelation or an opportunity to do something new; fiercely loving your family, your friends, strangers and even yourself. Holding on so tight and never losing sight of the sheer dumb luck that landed your ass on this rock in the middle of a cold dark void.

Can you only appreciate these things when life grabs you by the neck and throws you against the wall and seems to say, “You better look around and decide what’s really important  because the clock is a-ticking.”

Then you think about all the things you haven’t done and the things you haven’t said. You get scared, then mad, then incredibly pissed off and then sad again before your determination sets in. Maybe you would experience those emotions in a different order, or maybe experience different ones all together, but the idea is the same. The end result is the same. You are determined to live fully, love like you never have before and let nothing stand in your way.

The resolve to fight tooth and nail for every precious moment you can possibly spend with your loved ones. You promise to spend more quality time petting your cats and walking your dog. Even cleaning the toilet is cause for celebration because you are still capable of doing it and you don’t know how many more times in your life you will be hunched over the bowl scrubbing around and around.

Of course your number could be up any day, driving or crossing the street, choking on your morning breakfast, etc. We all know this, but it doesn’t carry the same weight as when there is an imminent threat with an actual name and a frightening survival rate. Why do we need that sense of urgency? Every day is a race to the end, a chance to change and full of moments to savor.

I always wondered how the chronically sick kept such good spirits, at times I suspected it gave them some kind of satisfaction to be happy, brave and positive; holding it over the heads of the healthy but miserable. Now I have an idea how they can be thankful and joyful for every minute, even the painful ones.

But the question remains, “do you have to be sick to live?”

I hope not.

8 responses to “The Clock”

  1. Avatar KFrayz says:

    Sometimes when I see immensely happy people…they piss me off. But when I think LONG and HARD about why their smiles, laughs, and pleasantries annoy me so, I find it is because I secretly admire them, and their ability to live in such a state…thanks for sharing!

    • Avatar ebbillings says:

      Very true, I guess we tend to believe it is harder than it really is to just let go of everything and take it as it comes. We lean on our idiosyncrasies and neuroses for protection.

  2. Avatar disperse says:

    True, you won't know which day is your last until it comes, so you might as well live each day as if it were your last. Easier said than done though. I think a solid dose of perspective would do everyone a lot of good. Sure, my life isn't perfect but it sure as hell could be a lot worse…

    • Avatar ebbillings says:

      It is impossible to be fully thankful 100% of the time, but as long as you keep it in your thoughts you are far ahead of many people.

  3. llxt llxt says:

    I believe in the power of cynicism myself, if for nothing more than the ability to be witty in writing. But I do have the rare moment of unimpeded happiness that feels pretty damn good. Sort of like the times when I get to eat steak-which really does taste better when you don't eat it every day.

  4. Avatar The Tailor says:

    I don't necessarily think you have to be sick to live, but terminal illness seems to bring a certain kind of clarity to people, perhaps because the ticking clock is audible.
    Makes you think…

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Emily Billings About Emily Billings

Emily Billings is a freelance writer and reluctant marketing director living in South Florida. She doesn't like liars, fakes or phoneys but loves cheese. She spends most of her time at the beach either being lazy or participating in beachy activities like body-boarding and snorkeling. She also enjoys hitting lobs or high backhands that her husband can't return on the tennis court. After a long day, there isn't anything Emily enjoys more than spending time with her husband and cats hypothesizing about the collapse of modern civilization and planning their survival.

Read more by this author on 30POV .


December 2010
November 2010
On My Honor
October 2010
Witch Hunt
September 2010
If, Then.
May 2010
Small Crimes
April 2010
February 2010
"It's Complicated"
January 2010