Use It Up

My memory is shot, but I’m pretty sure that 50-odd years ago my high school class chose as its motto, Carpe Diem: Seize the Day.

Over the last year or so, I’ve been granted something of a new lease on life (physical life, anyway—I’m fading fast upstairs), and I’m being pretty aggressive about taking advantage of it. I’d become used to husbanding effort (or being lazy—pick your point of view), but a few months ago—mostly, I have to admit, to get me out the door on those dark cold winter mornings—I started telling myself, “Use it up,” and I’ve been more or less living by this little phrase ever since.

I’ve been surprised that whenever I mention it to friends, reaction has been negative. They seem to think it reflects some sort of death wish. No, no, no. To me, “Use it up” is just a slightly down and dirty version of Carpe Diem, which could reasonably be construed as, “Don’t waste time.” It recognizes the end is somewhere out there in future, but it’s not rooting for it to arrive anytime soon.

For me “Use it up” means something like,”Push it.” Or, more concretely, “Do the stuff you love. Cherish family, travel a lot, reconnect with old friends, run hard, walk far.” In other words, be aware of and aggressive about taking advantage of this reprieve, this temporary gift of physicality.

Of course, in its penumbra, as the Supreme Court might say, is this: “Don’t worry if your friends don’t like your mantra.”





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