What does tomorrow mean to us? I thought about that today. It occurred to me that I don’t have as many tomorrows left. As endless as they used to be, I’d grab at a new handful of them. For now, I’m glad to have the next one. They grow fewer every day (sorry, I had to put that in)
When I was young, I never thought about tomorrow. It always came. Some took forever like when I cared about my birthday, and others flew by.
When something has an endless supply, the value is less. It’s economics. I never considered that I’d be working, or retired, or would have kids, a mortgage or any responsibility. Live for today. It was all about today. I had no real yesterday’s to learn from yet.
If I did think about tomorrow, it was the kid dream about being an astronaut or pilot (what I thought about).
That was so long ago and the days between now and then are so numerous that it seems, like another life for me. I’ve lived many different lives within the one I chronologically am still in.
I recall sitting in the classroom watching the clock ticking away. Tick, tick, tick towards when I’d be able to go home. Time was endless on those days, and this was just between 2 and 2:15 in elementary school. The only good tomorrow started on Friday.
By the time I got to college, I was aware that life was right around the corner. Still, I enjoyed the day without a care. I ignored that inevitable tomorrow. When it came, it was in the form of an exam, or a girlfriend or another event in life. It was finite and had little consequence as to what my next day held. Still, I had no real cares and a lot of what tomorrow brought was a new experience.
Letdowns started to happen, but the ocean of tomorrows never crossed my mind as I did stupid stuff. I think I lost a few tomorrows by taking too many risks. Somehow I survived and was able to live to the next day, always another tomorrow. It was expected.
Life marched on and I grew up, bought a home and started a family. Tomorrows always came, but now they came with other’s problems also. It wasn’t the carefree days when your kid is sick or in trouble. I didn’t have time to think about tomorrow as today brought 10 tons of manure in a 5 ton truck.
So much is happening in your life you take tomorrow for granted or you are too busy to think about anything but today. If you do, those thoughts are invaded with things you have to get done or do for others.
I did notice one thing. I was starting to have a lot of yesterday’s. Some of them happy and some sad. There were lessons learned on both.
The ocean of tomorrows was still seemingly full as it (now) quickly drained away.
The first reminders of fewer tomorrows happened here. Those you used to know have run out of tomorrows.
When you are young, say at a grandparents funeral, you can’t comprehend time not being endless for you. By middle age, you know it is closer, but most choose to ignore the reality of time slipping away.
Rarely, do tomorrows bring something new to me. Occasionally, I get a different version of something I’ve been through. I have many more yesterdays now than the number of tomorrows remaining.
The kids are grown. The mortgage is paid off. I no longer work. I’m among the oldest of my relatives now. It brought me to how many tomorrows there will be. Among those, how many will be good or bad? Will there be tough times?
I try to enjoy the days, even if the tasks are mundane. I have less patience for things that don’t seem meaningful to me. My meaningful scale has changed dramatically over life.
From time to time (becoming far too common), people I know run out of their tomorrows. As I sit at the funerals, life comes into perspective for me, at least the part on Earth.
Tomorrows aren’t endless. You only come with so many. Some have more than others and some enjoy them more than others.
Most of life’s struggles are over, except what happens when the tomorrow’s are running out.
Here’s hoping for another tomorrow, and that it doesn’t suck for me.
One thought on “A Life Lesson About Tomorrows. How Many Are Left?”
I remember that I couldn’t wait to turn 21 years of age. Hurry up, come on and get here will ya? And now, I am 71 and I wonder why I was in such a hurry. Pat McManus wrote a short story where he started by coming in the door from fishing when he was 16. As he walked in the door he magically transformed into an old geezer with 5 grandchildren. That’s how I feel sometimes. Life sure goes by in a hurry.
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