I recently met a man that for the purposes of confidentiality we will just call, “David.” David is an older man, retired from driving a truck most of his life, that spends his days, playing guitar and writing songs about his daily experiences and the people he meets. He has a companion with him at all times. A little dog named “Izzy.” She is a Shih Tzu and is very obedient and loyal to David. They do everything and go everywhere together. The past few days since being here I have talked with David and played with Izzy on several different occasions. One thing that has stood out to me is that David is always smiling, always doing something or going somewhere and always has a good story to tell. He talks a lot about his life growing up and his experiences with a woman who was very important in shaping him into the man he is now, his mother. He was born and raised in this county and came here to live following the dissolution of his marriage and retiring from truck driving. When you ask him what he does now, to enjoy his retirement he always responds by saying, “Oh just killing time.” He has come by my room a few times to chat and play me a song or to invite me over for some amazing meal he has cooked. No matter what he is doing or what he is extending he always says, “I was just killing time and thought I would…” He is a very humble person and even as talented as he is with playing guitar and writing songs, he never thinks he is as good at it as he really is.
The other evening while sitting on the porch that attaches all of the rooms together, David came out to talk for a few. While we were talking a man from California, came out that had been staying here for a couple of weeks that had traveled here earlier in the year with his wife, and had come back to buy a house here, upon them deciding they wanted a slower pace in life. He was telling us about the place they found and his plans to fly back home and bring her back with him. David walked inside and brought out a piece of paper and said he had written a song about the man and wanted him to have it before he left. He read it aloud and handed it to the guy, as an extension of well wishes. When the man took it he said, “thank you,” in which David responded, “oh just killing time.” David walked back inside his room as the man he had written the song about said, “Its better than letting time kill you.” The moment he said it, it made me think. Killing time or letting time kill you. Time is inevitable. It is always in a forward motion. There is no way to stop it or to rewind it. You can’t put it on pause or make it loop. It goes on with or without your acknowledgement or participation in it. It effects everything and all things are affected by it. David chooses to kill it, by doing kind and thoughtful things for others, filling his days with piddling with this and that or writing a silly song and playing guitar. Instead of sitting idly by and allowing time to kill him. He doesn’t spend his time thinking about all the things he used to do that he can’t anymore and regretting it. He doesn’t approach his days with the attitude that everything he could have done that would have mattered to someone else or made him more important along the way is gone. He doesn’t feel sorry for himself and complain about the aches and pains or limitations that comes along with being older. He works daily to stay active, and be an extension of kindness to someone else. He values his time enough to use it wisely in the manner he can now rather than reminisce about the “good ole days.” He finds ways give his life purpose by helping others and making them feel important instead of waiting for someone to feel sorry for the old man that lives alone and has nothing to do but sit and be lonely all the time. He shares himself and makes himself vulnerable to the thoughts and opinions of others without a care of what they may say or think about him. For him its just another step in life, not an end to one marked by retirement and the limitations brought about by age on his body. He made up his mind to not allow time to kill him, and chose to kill time.