Life is Long Enough.


Life is too short.

If only I’d…

If only I’d spent more time doing…

Sound familiar? It seems that in the last few months several key influencers, friends and mentors of mine have passed away. Other friends are struggling with illnesses, some of them terminal. Still others are bemoaning the fact that they are not as spry, mobile, or energetic as they used to be, and this is preventing them from traveling, working, or engaging in recreation to the extent they’d like to.

At times like these, I think the tendency for all of us as humans is to bemoan the brief time we have on this earth. Everyone wants to opine that life is too short.

I’m going to argue the other side, if you will indulge me this morning.

Life is plenty long enough. We have all the time we need. We are here exactly as long as we need to be.

As many of you know, I am writing this from an Amtrak sleeper car this morning. I’m taking a wonderful fifteen hour trip from South Carolina to New York City to attend the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, and I am reveling in the time to watch the scenery go by, think my thoughts, and share some of them with you.

I just had a delightful breakfast in the dining car with a retired couple who are consummate travelers, and who are about to celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary. She was a teacher for thirty eight years and he was a translator for the NY State Supreme Court for forty three years. They have multiple children, one of whom is a doctor, and several grandchildren. They have traveled to meetings and other functions all around the US, and they have lived in NYC for many years. They immediately gave me tips about what to see and do in their city, including the location of one of their favorite coffee shops that I must visit.

On this trip, I have nothing but fifteen hours of time. It is neither too little nor too much. It is just enough to get me to New York City. I have already slept, watched a sunrise, had a full breakfast, read the newspaper, and written this blogpost. I have made two new friends. I’ve done all of this before nine in the morning.

Life is not too short.

Life is just long enough to look, listen, learn, and love.

You have the same fifteen hours I do today.

I’m on a train.

Where will you be?

11 thoughts on “Life is Long Enough.

  1. Good morning: Yes, I have taken that same train, from Atlanta to Rhode Island a few years back, and I highly recommend it to friends when travelling north. You really feel like you are really travelling, and it is heaven to a book lover, and reader; comfortable chairs, the option of going to the coffee shop for a coffee or snack, then more reading. I imagine the western trips are sublime, and even more time.

    Enough time? I believe, with all the continuing advances of genomics, nanomedicine, etc. that we are the last generation that will not be able to pick how long they live. No, don’t call 911.

    I have thought about it, and sure, maybe live another 20 years, but enough is enough. Especially with the worn out body. Maybe to another planet. But this life? Enough now, give me a rest, then Google will figure out a way so I can wake up in about 100 years, and, as the Irish say, “….have another go at it…”

    john bennett md


  2. “You have the same fifteen hours I do today.
    I’m on a train.
    Where will you be?”
    Nose down in the DSM 5 working on case studies due tomorrow — and studying for Counseling Research study –assuming I can get past the fog in the latter!
    Got my letter for Candidacy for the graduate program Friday — that helped more than I would have imagined it did. The internal pressure that I did not know was there lifted instantly — now it’s (for the time being) just a matter of getting the academics done for the semester.


  3. You have the same fifteen hours I do today.

    I’m on a train.

    Where will you be?
    I’ve been following your posts for a while now. Love this post, Dr. Greg! I’m at the computer working on my blog site. I’m a newbie blogger and site is 2 weeks old (taking a blogging course). Of course other things will get done, but creative things come first. I’ve got ideas for mental health blogs along with other fun topics. I retired last year (age 75). I worked in psychiatry for years as a nurse practitioner. Now it’s time to give back!


  4. It is wonderful to appreciate the periods of our life when time seems to stretch out in front of us in a leisurely fashion. Then there are the other times when it does not. And still other times, when we tell ourselves we have no time regardless of whether we do or not.


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