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The Wooden Nickel:  Time's A-Wastin'

The Wooden Nickel: Time's A-Wastin'

March 02, 2023

Getting to the ripe old age of almost 57 has clarified one thing for me: I don’t have any time to waste! 

I don’t know if I have 40 weeks or 40 years left, but the days of thinking that “someday” I’ll do this or that are over. The news is full of celebrities who pass away at alarmingly-close ages to my own, and it makes me realize that nothing is guaranteed.  My kids are raised, my career is chosen, and my home is my home.

I have no patience to spend time on stuff I don’t want to do.

I love going to dinner with people and engaging in lively conversation. It’s a tradition as old as humans have had words. But when we’ve all eaten, talked, laughed and communed, there usually occurs a lull in the conversation. It’s time to leave. I’m always the guy who stands up first and says “well, it’s been great, but it’s time to go home.” I have only so much time left, and it shouldn’t be spent staring at the empty dessert plates in awkward silence.

Speaking of restaurants, I ordered a Caesar salad at a fancy restaurant the other day, and they brought me a plate that had five separate romaine lettuce leaves, a tiny bowl of dressing, a pile of parmesan cheese, and some croutons.  I guess they assumed I wanted to cut and toss the ingredients myself? I don’t have time for that! I wanted a salad, not just the ingredients. Don’t waste my time, restaurant.

I love to read, and I get through about 15-20 books a year.  I mention that not to brag (ok, I bragged a little), but because it occurs to me that out of all of the books I have not read that have ever been written, I will only get to perhaps 700 more.  Therefore, I don’t have time to read bad books! If I get a hundred pages in and I don’t like the book, I will just drop it and move on. I’ve learned that books don’t improve after a hundred pages.

I haven’t visited four continents (Asia, Africa, Australia and Antarctica) out of seven.  What am I waiting for? Also, I haven’t visited Maine, Vermont, North or South Dakota, Idaho, Alaska or Iowa.  (Iowa?  It’s right next door!)  I must get going or I’m going to miss these places. No time to waste.

That said, I’m done with vacations to places that seem boring to me just because others are going. No peer-pressure trips for me! There just isn’t enough time. I need to spend what time and treasure I have going to awesome places that broaden my horizons.  Like Antarctica.

If you have an opinion about something, then tell me what it is. Let’s not dance around the myth that you are “doing your own research” on the subject. You read or watch things, and then you decide what you think. Me too! You and I are not researchers or scientists. Let’s not waste time arguing facts, but let’s express our opinions based on facts!  We both need to get more information.

That said, I don’t have any time left to be stuck in my opinions. I’m ready to change my mind if you convince me to do so. I’ve heard that old people are too “set in their ways” Well, I’m actively working against that stereotype now! How can I have thought I knew so much when I was young?  I needed to get old to open my mind.  I don’t have time left to be stubborn.  I hope I'm more open-minded than ever. (You are free to change my mind on that!)

I’ve decided that I’m only going to buy golf shirts that have crazy patterns on them.  I don’t care what anybody thinks of them; they make me happy. Why waste time on boring shirts? Who am I trying to impress?

I am going to dance at every wedding! Until recently, I never danced at weddings because I thought people who danced at weddings looked foolish. One day it hit me like a thunderbolt: THAT’S THE POINT! Be happy, don’t care what you look like, and dance.  I’ve danced at every wedding since. I'm terrible at it. So? Invite me to yours; I will dance. No time like the present.

Here are some things I thought I would do in my life that now realize I will not:

  • Be a professional athlete
  • Run for President
  • Voluntarily skydive
  • Climb Mount Everest (or any mountain, really, that doesn’t have a chair lift)

I’m ok with not doing those things.


Here are some things I still hope to do, but it might be tough:

  • Leave Earth’s orbit
  • Shoot my age in golf (might get easier as I get older)
  • Write a novel


Thanks for indulging me. I hope you understand that planning is my career, my life, and my mode of operation. This rant about doing things today is the essence of planning. Why? Just like the ship that can only sail the seas if the captain can navigate the stars, you can only “live for today” if you’ve planned for your future. 


Do the good planning for your future.  Only then you can best enjoy the time you have left in life! And dance!