By Mark W. Danielson
Time is finite, and there’s never enough of it. With the exception of flying a two-day trip, I’ve been home for three weeks, and yet during that period, I have failed to accomplish all that I intended. When people ask what I’ll do when I retire from FedEx, I smile and reply that I’ll enjoy spending more time with my wife, writing, painting, playing on the lake, flying for pleasure, building and then rebuilding things, and most of all, engaging life. It’s the only way to live because we never know how much time we have left. I was reminded of that this morning when I learned that a co-worker's son died yesterday from meningitis--after falling ill four days earlier. He was a Naval Academy student, and lived a mere two decades. No doubt we can all attest that life isn’t fair.
During my time off, I completed the first draft of my next manuscript, painted five paintings, and performed countless tasks around the house. During breaks, Lyne and I walked nearly every day, enjoying a beautiful Colorado Indian Summer. I cherish the time Lyne and I have together because in the end, it’s the quality of my time that matters, not how many jobs I complete.
Tonight I start another two-week round-the-world trip; this time flying eastbound via Paris, Delhi, Shanghai, buzz around the Far East for a few days, then back to Anchorage and home. I look forward to getting airborne again, seeing a world without borders. I also look forward to having the time to edit my manuscript. A few long layovers should allow me to get through it before I return. But I’ll also regret missing Thanksgiving. You see, Thanksgiving in Japan isn’t the same as being at home with family, but that’s my life as a gypsy pilot. Then again, such disappointments help inspire believable protagonists. After all, aren’t we all a bit conflicted at times?
I should point out that there is another artist with the same name, but unlike him, I don’t sell my work. Although I’ve been painting my entire life, I’ll wait until I retire before pursuing that career. In the mean time, I’ll enjoy creating memorable works for my family members at Christmas—another holiday that I’m likely to miss. Regardless, so long as I enjoy living each day to its fullest, regardless of where in the world I am, time will always be on my side.