Ever notice that the best sleep seems to happen right before the alarm goes off? You will be tossing and turning all night, trying to decide should I get up or lie here? and then when you finally seem to settle down and drift into a nice slumber, "EEK, EEK, EEK," jolts you into another day.
You might be making small talk about weather and schedules to someone, when you realize that one of you needs to leave. It is then that the conversation will turn to something deeper and significant.
I have noticed at the hospital bedside or at funerals, individuals who never were around while the patient or deceased were healthy, show up and want to engage in something meaningful. Why do we wait until it is almost, and in some case actually is too late, to tell people how we feel about them?
How come it seems that only in the final hours are we significant and real? Or that in the wee hours we can finally relax? What can we learn from it?
It makes me think that there are only two ways to respond to our reactions-either embrace the lateness or start earlier.
I think in many cases we should start earlier: earlier to bed, earlier in moving the conversation from small talk to something deeper and earlier in the development of our relationships. It would make things much less stressful. No more rushing around feeling that we aren't in our best state of alertness, our best relationships or conversation and certainly feeling that we did our best with our loved ones.
But we shouldn't despair if time is fleeting on us. It is never too late to catch a few winks (isn't that why we don't jump out of bed when the annoying alarm beeps?), begin a meaningful conversation or try and develop a relationship with family and friends.
I am reminded of the jazz band at my parents' retirement center. Both parents were members and my dad is continuing on. The average age of the members is around 85, possibly higher. While I believe all the members played musical instruments when they were younger, they still remain faithful to weekly practicing and performing gigs. As their name suggests,"Never Too Late", it is never too late to pursue what you want, to reach out to whomever and to contribute to life in some way.
What about you? Do you feel that significant things happen to you in final hours? Do you wish you had more time? Have you thought about starting "earlier"? As those hearty octogenarian musicians will testify- it is never too late to begin.