There Are No Winners In The Race Against Time

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”

A few weeks ago, when I was feeling morose, I said to my wife, “I feel my time is running out.” To which she responded, “Oh boo, it is for all of us.”

I knew my preacher spouse is profound, every Sunday I am more and more impressed. But this gem is one for the ages.


I am 80. People don’t live too much longer than that. Sure, there are plenty of nonagenarians and if I get there, I will shoot for 100.

Meanwhile, making it to next week feels challenging enough. Here are some thoughts about that.


Slow and Steady Wins the Race

As a former marathoner, I always cheered for the tortoise. I ran, but in the middle of the pack.

I raced for my personal win. No headlines noted it. I knew, though.

That is why, these days, I consider walking to the end of the block and back a victory.

Stopping for Rest is Just Fine

That same profound wife went into a cleaning frenzy yesterday, with significant results. I didn’t take part.

Our son and I spruced up the kitchen floor, but I had to stop often to relieve my back pain.

I was quickly back to my recliner, reading, or doing the New York Timescrossword puzzle. Could I give the excuse, “I was trying to keep out of the way?”

Maybe It Isn’t a Race At All

We have a small clock on our bedroom wall, and sometimes at night, I hear it. Tick, tick, tick, second by second. Sometimes it needs a new battery but otherwise is just ticks along.

Isn’t this the way our time goes? We look forward to something, expecting future joys but speeding too fast to see the ‘now.’

Who Really Wants to Know Where It Ends?

One of my races was Grandma’s, along the Lake Superior shore in Minnesota. It is a beautiful course that had a unique aspect. You could see the finish from the start. Although it began in Two Harbors, there, 26.2 miles away, was the Duluth skyline.

It was a mixed blessing. It was discouraging because Duluth didn’t seem to get closer. That same perception, however, made me keep my eyes on the lake and the cheering people along the way.


Astoundingly, maybe, this race against/with time is one where we are all participants. You can’t be a spectator. So instead of grinding it out, set your own pace. The only goal is to take one stride at a time.

On the Other Side

One of my favorite sayings is “If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.” I am pretty sure I read it first in one of my detective novels when a seductive blond approaches our hero in a bar. He does think to himself “If something seems too good…” but goes along only to fall victim to her scam. So, do not we ever learn?

Give him a break. Most of us act on the “wrong” instinct. Opportunity knocks. Why take up too much time thinking about it? That dream contact in a bar; that dream job or promotion; that lost bag of $100 bills; etc

Watch the movie A Simple Plan for a moving, sad example of this. When three blue collar acquaintances come across millions of dollars in lost cash they make a plan to keep their find from the authorities but find complications and mistrust weaving its way into their plan. (quote from IMDB)

No spoilers here, but keep watching to the end. If nothing else this story makes clear, once again, how dangerous or fruitless it is to leap before looking. Or however you want to put it.

I wanted to put this into words after reading the Annie Light poem, “The Sound of It” in The Writer’s Almanac today. Sometimes when we are on the other side of that dream we share her thoughts:

“…Time passes in crooked ways in some tales,…I drove away convinced of nothing I had been so sure of before,…