One of my duties in the Chappy fire department years ago was to speak at the Chappaquiddick Island Association meetings about the need to cut back the vegetation along driveways so that the firefighters could get to a house fire without knocking equipment off the sides of the trucks. The general feedback I heard was that most folks were pretty sure that the fire department wouldn’t need to respond to their house because they were so careful with candles, charcoal grills and chimney cleaning.

So, I thought that I would try another angle. Looking around the room at the next CIA meeting, I estimated that the average age of the congregation was somewhere between 60 and 65 years. I didn’t voice that opinion but I did add to my usual spiel that the ambulance also needed plenty of clearance if it was going to be able to get all of the way up to your house. Otherwise, the EMTs would have to park out at the road and you could bumpity bump down your driveway strapped onto the stretcher, getting bitten by mosquitos and horseflies while you have your stroke or heart attack.

A few short weeks later, several home owners proudly told me that I should come by to see how nicely they had opened up the sides of their driveways. They all said that it looked much better than they imagined and that the ambulance now could get right up to the porch steps.

I turned 70 the other day. My wife asked me if I was alright with that. So did a couple of other concerned well-wishers. As my son in law says, denying that you’re having a birthday doesn’t mean that you aren’t getting older. I actually like being older. It’s much easier to make decisions. If I haven’t made use of an artifact that I salvaged from the dump 30 years ago, I’m much more likely now to be willing to take it back and let the next lucky person have a crack at it.

Often when I run into someone that I haven’t seen for a while, we remark how quickly time is flying by. They nod their head in agreement when I suggest that whatever it is that we are planning to do in life, we better start doing it now because time is running out. I like to ask if they would want to know how much time they have left. Most say that they wouldn’t.

I would love to know my expiration date. It would be so helpful in making plans. Consider this: if you are on vacation, wouldn’t you want to know if it was for two days or for two weeks? Would you want to have it sprung on you suddenly one day that you have to pack up right now and go home? You wouldn’t be able to plan your vacation to do all of the things you that you set out to do.

And this concept of living your life as if every day was your last. You would probably never get around to vacuuming or taking out the trash again. Some stuff that you have to do is just hum drum and you can only have faith that today is not your last. You can also move your hopes and wishes up a few notches on your priority list.