This Second Will Never Exist Again

Grasping the Moment’s Unrepeatable Essence

These words changed my life, but I don’t know if it’s for the better or for worse. I was in 10th grade and my brother was just starting middle school. He was obsessed with video games and I was cruising through High School. I never had to study for any subject then; I simply half-paid attention in class and got 100s on all my tests. I’m not bragging, it just happened.

It was around this time that I liked to go out with my friends. Although I had a vision of where I wanted to go, I never applied myself at school to achieve that goal. I just attended class and got the grades that I wanted. I was running at above a 4.0 GPA around this time and was coasting through all my classes. Each day consisted of making plans later that evening. “What are we doing and who are we doing it with?” was a question that my friend and I had on top of our heads each day.

Whether that consisted of playing baseball, football, soccer, or pretty much any other sport, or hanging out with friends in the middle of some field in the middle of nowhere (it definitely felt like some horror novel), we were up for it. There were about 20 of us in the group but that group was always larger somehow when we got together. Life was good and simple.

One evening my dad approached my brother and I. I can’t remember if I did something wrong or my brother, but he said the following:

“If I could go back in time right now, I would spend all of my time making something of myself. I wouldn’t waste even a second. Even us talking right now, what do you think is happening? This second, as well as this one, and this one, and this one, they’re gone. They’re never going to repeat themselves ever again. These are wasted opportunities. What have you done right now? What have you done today? Did you waste your day away? These moments, these seconds, will never happen again. Remember that.”

And I did. That speech struck me to my core. It changed me completely. It changed my outlook on life. I stopped hanging out with my friends every single day and picked up a book. Although high-school still proved to be extremely simple, and I didn’t study for it, I started studying other topics.

When I graduated I took on web-programming and thought myself everything there was to it. I only later completed my school for it. I felt like I didn’t want to waste time. I spent reading 10+ hours each day.

Even when I got married, from 3:00pm in the afternoon to 1:00 or 2:00am, I was reading. Thankfully my wife understood my obsession. I got to the point that I could read and have a conversation with her at the same time, out of necessity.

Luckily this didn’t last too long and I quickly realized that I needed to be flexible. But flexibility for me meant sleeping less. I spent time with her throughout the day and then hit the books in the evening.

I researched how to sleep less. There were quite a few articles that stated that a human being can get away with sleeping for 30 minutes at a time 3 times per day. As long as you can enter the REM cycle, you could theoretically get away with sleeping for 1.5 hours per day.

I did it for 2 weeks and was hallucinating beyond comprehension. I don’t recommend that anyone tries that. It really is just self-inflicted torture.

Twenty-years have passed since my dad said those words to me. I now have a child as well and dedicate most of my time to my family, but I still time-manage every second of my life. For example, this article is written out of some crazy notion that I need to write an article a day. And so here I am, writing another article. I haven’t missed a day in almost a year.

Is this healthy or borderline psychotic? I hope it’s not the latter. But, each day I think about those words and I see people waste their lives away. I do think whether I’m wasting my life away being insanely organized with everything that I do. Should I be more spontaneous? Should I stop adhering to a strict schedule? These are the questions that plague me. I’m not sure if I can answer those with certainty, but I can tell you one thing, this second, and this one, and this one, and this one, will never happen again.


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