Updated: May 11
I recently rewatched the James Bond movie Goldfinger. Towards the end of the film, Mr. Bond finds himself, as usual, in a precarious situation. This time he's at Fort Knox, where he is trapped in a vault with the entire gold supply of the United States, and a ticking time bomb. After fighting off a hefty villain with a killer decapitating top hat, 007 manages to break through the locked bomb-box and stop the clock with, you guessed it, 007 seconds to spare.
More recently, climate change has highlighted the 'ticking time bomb' of global warming; the desperate situation we find ourselves in after centuries of humans assuming the earth's resources were endless and ours alone to pillage. Now, with over 7.7 billion people on a planet in peril, we have passed the tipping point and it seems there is no going back. Part of the problem seems to be that the ticking isn't loud enough.
And then, there are our individual 'planets' -- our human bodies. Mine was said to be a ticking time bomb since before I even knew what a bomb was. When I was three and diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, my parents were told by the doctors I would need a colectomy by the time I was ten, and I might well have cancer by the time I turned twenty. While neither of those ominous forecasts came to pass, I did have a liver transplant when I was forty-one years old, and since then, I've relied on an increasingly toxic cocktail of auto-immune suppressants to both keep my transplanted liver happy and auto-immune disease at bay. Not one, but several 'ists' have said it’s not if but when, when it comes to the big C. As I approach fifty years old next month, I can't help but feeling a little bit like James Bond - I hear the ticking and over the past couple of years have been desperately searching for ways to cut the wires, all the while dodging the guy with the killer hat.
But this is not a post about auto-immune disease, or about my personal adventures in wrestling men with top hats or explosive devices. This is a post about the ticking time bomb that is the temporal nature of all things, and about giving you a good kick in the ass to get out there and LIVE. If the pandemic weren't enough of a reminder (or war in Ukraine, worldwide refugee crisis, the return of draconian beliefs about a women’s right to choose, very real nuclear threat or climate change and in teased natural disasters, associated famine, etc) let it be this: we are all aging, and none of us knows what might happen tomorrow. The amount of time us humans spend in our heads wrestling with our beliefs, worrying about whether we are good enough, wishing things were different or beating ourselves up about all of the above takes up a hefty chunk of our lives. As the longest living mammals with (arguably) over-developed brains, much of that long life is spent suffering, in one way or the other. The problem is, we each think we are alone in these problems of being human, so we suppress our true feelings, and our true selves. Many suppress unmet needs, hopes and potential along the way, too.
So, here is to daring you to be bold. What would you do differently if this was your last week, month, year to live? Who would you want to be with, and how would you spend your time?
As I mentioned, next month I turn fifty. What I'd like, more than anything, is to hear from you about one thing you are doing differently to manifest vibrancy in your life right now. Go out on a limb and tell someone you love them, or show up for yourself because realise that you don't. In what ways might you foster more joy in your life? What risks are you prepared to take? Know that whatever, however you commit to showing up, if that thing brightens your mood, puts a spring in your step, chances are, you'll be making the world a little brighter, too.