“Sometimes we make the most out of our time when we have the least to spare.”
– Henrietta Lang, NCIS: Los Angeles
Season 8, Episode 11, “Tidings We Bring”
Oh, too true.
In this particular instance, Hetty has just used an example where a great composer finished a masterful work the night before it debuted in public, but it extends so much further. When time is short, at the eleventh hour, is when we often have our greatest breaks, and achieve our greatest deeds. Everyone from fighters to philosophers to politicians to artists… everyone has those moments where they’re caught between a clock and a hard place, and inspiration finally strikes.
Even more explicitly, there are the people who know that their time is running out completely. People who suffer from terrible diseases are the most obvious example of that. I can’t count the number of stories that revolve around a person who learns they’re dying and suddenly they focus on what matters most (personal favorite: The Bucket List). In the face of death, we contemplate the true value to be found in life.
A lot of our time is spent just on our continuing survival. We go to work so we can get money so we can pay for food and shelter. Take survival out of the equation, and suddenly we are free to spend our time on what we truly want and love. We take what matters most to us, hold it tight, and let got of everything else. If only we could live like that every day of our lives.
What a man truly treasures can be found in what he spends his time (and money) on when he has nothing really to spare.