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Bonus Time

Bonus Time

Tirah the tabby, the last cat standing from the trio we enjoyed for 15 years, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in August 2020. At the time, the doctors gave her six to 12 months. Sixteen months later, I just fed her breakfast to quiet her demands.

With her two contemporaries gone before her, one at age 19 and the other at 15, one just before her diagnosis and one not long after, Tirah is now queen of the household and loving it. She was the least assertive member of the three-cat household she lived in for most of her life, and now she’s the uncontested boss.

We’ve taken to calling these unexpected months of extended life “bonus time.” Our constant awareness that her time with us is likely running short has helped us to cherish each moment with her that much more.

A month ago the life of someone I’ve never met—the close friend of a friend—was cut short abruptly after an accident at home. He was otherwise healthy and in the prime of his creative life. More than one observer used the word “cruel” to describe the suddenness of his passing from this world.

We like to imagine we have a degree of control over our lives, but so much of that control is pure illusion, a fantasy born of hubris. The reality is that we are guaranteed nothing. It’s all well and good to plan for tomorrow—indeed, it’s both wise and necessary to—but you can’t count on tomorrow, not a hundred percent. 

The truth is that every day we’re here, we’re all living in bonus time. So don’t let it slip away.

Write that story.

Sing that song.

Take that trip.

Carpe that diem.

Speak to that person you’ve had your eye on but haven’t worked up the courage to approach.

Don’t go crazy spending money—you might still have decades left, after all—but don’t continually put off things that are truly important to you. It’s so easy to get caught up in the rush of the everyday, the calendar pages flipping over faster and faster, until you suddenly realize there’s a good chance you’re closer to the end than the beginning.

So call that person you haven’t spoken with in too long now.

Catch up. Tell them how you feel. Make amends. Settle accounts.

Clean your slate, as best you can. Because you don’t know what tomorrow may bring.

Around the time Dad reached his nineties, he began to repeat a favorite saying almost every time we saw him: “Every day is a gift.”

The truth is, it’s all bonus time, every minute of it—so treat it that way.

That’s the beauty of being human, we don’t get forever.”
— David Longdon

Comment (1)

  • Doris E Pettersen

    How sad to look back at a life when you reach the end and realize that one's time is up and there are no adventures to look back on. So, make that trip, take that chance, talk with that stranger, try that new food, paint that painting (whether it's good or not), share that memory, make that phone call, and do it today, there may be no tomorrow, or your body or mind may be incapable. Our time is not limitless. Keep a journal. It helps the memories stay fresh.

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