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“The average life only has 4,000 Saturdays,” said my son in the car the recently.
“I don’t want to waste any more of them.” It was, fittingly, a Saturday. We were driving cross-country to visit the grandparents he hasn’t seen in two years.
Lockdown, life, and living far away got in the way of such things, but we had this one Saturday available, so we cleared the decks of other commitments, grabbed the opportunity and took to the road.
For me it was about that drive with him more than anything.
I know that some of the best conversations happen not facing each other, but side by side, looking outwards, looking forwards, together.
That’s why I usually choose to sit companionably adjacent to people in restaurants, not opposite them as if it’s a job interview.
Journeys are good for such shoulder-to-shoulder chats, as are walks, and shared labours like cooking, painting, and gardening.
I know too that behavioural experts recommend sitting beside awkward teenagers when you want to talk, or want them to talk.
They say cars trips are perfect – it’s more informal, less interrogational.
My boy is not a teenager though, or awkward. He’s 30, with his own busy life.
Still, it’s nice to have him to myself occasionally; it’s nice to chat as the open road spools away beneath us. It’s nice to ask how he is, really.
As I glanced sideways at my oldest son, I didn’t want to remind him that, having lived 1,500 Saturdays already, he likely has considerably fewer than 4,000 to go: even if he makes it to the ripe old age of 100, he “only” has about 3,600 weeks left on the planet, and only 3,600 more Saturdays.
Also, there are 3,600 more Mondays, and 3,600 humpdays. How then do you not waste a day?
How do you properly spend time, or risk losing it?
It’s cannot be a case of living each day – or even each Saturday – as if it’s your last, manically, wildly, desperately, knowing you’ll sleep when you’re dead, even as your frenzied actions hasten your demise.
The best thing we can do, I said, is try to live each day not like it’s your last, but like it’s the first day of the rest of your life.
Our Saturday together was an excellent start.