What Would You Do?

via Daily Prompt: Later

Several years ago I stumbled on a way to express what many of us on the far side of middle age know intimately; time is as precious as it is relentless, ever striding forward whether we choose to keep up or not. I called it the 30-30 principle. None of us knows whether we have 30 seconds or 30 years left to live. So, how shall we spend our time? What really matters? As is obvious from the absence of a written record in the interim, writing about the idea was not on the list. I thought about it, but put it off for later. Well, later is here. Gotta love these prompts!

What if I knew I had only 30 seconds? What then? Living alone there is no time for one last comforting hug in the arms of a lover. Maybe a frantic group text to my kids, “I love you. Carry on, Dad.” And what about 30 minutes? Some phone calls to family, friends and former lovers? A quick drive to a close friend’s house for that hug? Though that small Dutch Apple pie on my counter is calling out for attention too ;-). 30 days would be a lifetime, plenty of time to travel to see old friends, with some left over for quiet time at an outdoor café in Paris. So, why am I not doing any of these things right now? I can blame it on the realities of still working for a living, or generalized inertia. Still, it’s worth a thought.

And you, my newfound family of bloggers. What about you? What would you do? If so inclined, please reply to this post with what you would do with a time interval of your own choosing. It need not even be within the bounds of the 30-30 principle. But, please, share.

(Not sure how all this pingback stuff works, but do that too if so moved.)

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017

Published by

Thomas Ward

Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Alabama. Research focus on creativity.

42 thoughts on “What Would You Do?”

  1. What a thought provoking question! I would spend whatever time I had left with my husband and kids. And if it was a longer time frame I would travel (with them) , the hard part would be choosing where! 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I did it a few times in my life – when I didn’t know what next or what I actually wanted. Then I imagined that I had only one year to live or half a year… each time all my yearnings were coming up but each time they were different, depending on the period in my life.
    This is a very good way to check what we are missing the most or… what our soul needs. 
And what would be my answer now? I would spend even more time with my kids, go and meet someone who is very close to me and write a lot

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry Thomas, my complete reply didn’t come through so here it is.
    As the result of reading this thought provoking piece I would be grateful for not waiting do what I am now doing daily.
    This piece could a life changer and a great motivator for many.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have done all I ever wanted to do in life. I’m ready to pop off, infact anytime now😉 My students will be so happy!
    My only concern would be to sell my house and give away a proportionate amount to needy or family who loved me … Since I didn’t make a will so far.
    Psychology peeps like us have so many questions!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Now this is a fascinating post, food for thought, provoking an analysis moment. Well done!

    30 minutes would be enough to, as spring started beautifully, get out to the most gorgeous fields with some trees, lying down with wife in arms, some drinks and food and a last picknick, good chatting and looking at her every smile and laugh carefully, taking it all in for a last time… Such a last half hour I can only imagine with her alone.

    My later prompt article turned out to be quite different, I like this one better actually!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That was a unique thought to share, Thomas…Made me ponder…
    Well, the answer for the 30 seconds part is pretty simple..I’ll hug my parents, my brother, and then meditate upon the Lord..If I had 30 minutes, maybe I could also post my last goodbye message in my blog, with my love and prayers for all, sharing the little lessons I’ve learned in my life..For 30 days and longer, there would be a lot of things I’d want to do..Lots to learn and try.😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There have always been two things I want to do before I die… see the ocean and see the mountains. I have good friends near each one now so I could reach those goals and spend precious time with friends I don’t see enough. And above all else spend time with my daughter. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That is a painful question. There’s much that has been denied me due to circumstances both past and present. The most important things, the things of value, I’ve done and am doing such as being there to protect and care for my children, and now grand children. Still, things I would have done if fortunate enough, travel with a friend or family, see parts of the world I haven’t seen. I’d have loved to dance, continue with my art, painting, photography, perhaps find someone I could trust and spend time with another. Circumstances are what they are and accepting them has been difficult. Within the constraints that surround me, I am a lover of music and I enjoy endlessly listening to fabulous people. While my sight lasts I enjoy photography and I LOVE writing and being here, has given me a fabulous opportunity to meet like-minded people with real depth quality heart and care.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Last year when I suffered from ill health and I thought it would be fatal (obviously it wasn’t) 😊 I gave some thought to this question.

    I would write letters to my loved ones impressing on them the importance of living their lives to the full. Not to place too much importance on material gain but to increase their spiritual knowledge. I also think it’s important to live in the moment, not forward, not back, just live, love, laugh.

    I could go on and on 🤗 I would have probably passed over with a pen in my hand. I remember years ago I was a member of a poetry site and one of the ladies on the site was dying and she wrote what she said would be her last poem. That touched my heart so much. Words have so much power and can live on forever.

    My last moments ( gosh filling up here 😢 ) would be held in my husbands arms with my daughters around me. 😇

    Liked by 1 person

  10. If I only had 30 seconds left, I would want to spend that time holding my son in my arms. 30 minutes: say a few words to my husband, son, sisters, nephews and best friend. 30 days: that’s torture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point. We can’t really know until faced with a situation, and what we feel today may be different a year from now. Still, I do think it can be a useful way to assess what seems most important to us for the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hmm…being on the far side of middle age, also…I’m not sure I even like this 30/30 idea! Oh how time speeds up with each decade! Thank you for a thoughtful post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yep…There came a point many years back when I had to acknowledge that if I was in middle-aged I was going to get well past 100. Time does seem to just disappear…


  12. Thought provoking… 30 years-travel, cook with friends, spend time with family. I am going those things like I have 30 years. 30 days- go to the beach one more time. I always felt I was a sand piper in a former life:) Get my final affairs in order which is pretty much accomplished, but leave all information easily accessible for my family. 30 minutes- just go sit outside with the sun and wind or the moon and stars. Alone frankly…. I would not want loved ones to have to have my death as their final memory of me.

    Liked by 1 person

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