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The best Christmas gift is time

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Columnist Tom PurcellOur time is the best gift we can give to our friends and family this Christmas. 

Nobody knows how much time we have on Earth — nobody knows when our time will end. We all have friends and loved ones who were claimed way too early.

Hopefully, you are blessed, as my family has been, to have loved ones who have lived long and fruitful lives.

Such family members have an abundance of wisdom to share — wisdom cultivated over time. I particularly enjoy the pearls of humorous wisdom my 88-year-old father has shared:

“Getting old ain’t for cowards!”

“At my age, never buy green bananas.”

“When life serves you a lemon, make lemonade — but crack open a Pabst Blue Ribbon first.”

My mother has long been a source of positive energy, hope and inspiration. She is forever forging ahead, forever looking for a silver lining.

So many times as a child — and later as an adult — she corrected me when I got lost in the moodiness of my self-perceived failures and pushed me to keep on going.

Life is hard for everyone at times. It is not easy to maintain my mother’s stubbornly positive mindset, but she powers on, demanding the rest of us to do likewise.

Hopefully, your extended family is also as equally blessed as mine is by young family members who offer their own kind of innocent wisdom.

Children are filled with a natural sense of wonder, joy and hope. They especially love visiting Grandma and Grandpa — my Mom and Dad.

That makes perfect sense to me. Kids and old folks have a natural connection. It’s those of us in the middle of time — from our teens up through middle age — who are caught up in the seriousness of a worldly world.

It’s easy to fall into the trap so many of us are stuck in. We seek success, praise, financial security, nicer houses and more and more stuff.

What we don’t see is that while the youngest and the oldest members of our families spend their time on wonder, hope and laughter we are wasting too much of our precious time on acquiring worldly things.

Nobody ever said on his deathbed, as the old humorous saying goes, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office!”

According to Lifehack, here are some other common deathbed regrets:

- “I wish I had kept on going.”  Refer to my mother’s guidance, above, on how to avoid having this regret.

- “I wish I told others how much I love them.” Add to this, “I wish I’d spent more time with those I love.”

- “I wish I had laughed it off.” This third regret is particularly helpful now, as so many of us are so angry constantly about politics and other matters that, in the end, are not deserving of the high importance we have granted them.

The Christmas season is upon us and time is the very best gift we can give.

Rather than material goods or money, why not write up a series of IOUTs (I owe you time) to give to others:

- I’ll make you your favorite dinner.

- I’ll help you clean your gutters twice a year, then join you for tea.

- I’ll go walking with you once every week.

Our time is priceless. This Christmas let’s share it like the fleeting treasure that it is.

Tom Purcell is an author and humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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