Life Goes Past Fast

Since time is the one immaterial object which we cannot influence — neither speed up nor slow down, add to nor diminish — it is an imponderably valuable gift.” – Maya Angelou

When Farris Bryant became Florida’s governor, he invited me to serve as his page during the 1960 legislative session. 

The governor’s administrative secretary explained if I wanted to get paid, I had to have a Social Security number . He gave me directions to the local social security administration office and by the end of the day I was in possession of a social security number.

For over 50 years, this number has appeared on employment applications, payroll reports and income tax returns. When I tried to use the card to get into the Peppermint Lounge in New York City, the bouncer threw me out by my collar and back of my pants; the owner of the restaurant where I worked while in college had it; the Army used it as my ID number; and it appears on the records of my father’s company.

All the years of paying into the system I never thought about taking money out. It was just another tax, especially when I have been self-employed.  Now I’m one of the “codgers” scrutinizing my bank account to ensure my social security check has arrived.

We undergo changes as we enter each decade of our life: 20’s, entering the workforce; 30’s, fatherhood; 40’s, power and responsibility; 50’s, the first AARP notice and 60’s, a Social Security Administration notice about retirement.  When asked, what surprised him most about life, Billy Graham answered, “How fast it goes by.”  How right he was—yesterday, I was applying for a social security number and today, I am reaping the benefits.

Remember the ad? “Life comes at you fast.” A more accurate wording is, “Life goes past fast.” Because life goes by fast, we cannot afford to sacrifice precious time living in the past, dwelling on problems or fearing the future. After all, we can’t change yesterday, today’s problems will be history tomorrow, and tomorrow we will be in the future we looked towards today.


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