Borrowed time

We have all used or experienced borrowed time before. There are always costs associated with it, but we find ourselves wanting it all the same.

The simplest example of borrowed time is credit. You are borrowing time from the bank to use money that you do not have yet, but that you know you will, in theory, be able to return this time. The cost of not returning this time is interest, where you simply have to pay an additional percentage of the initial cost. Very simple and straightforward.

Terminally ill patients who live past their given life expectancy are said to be on borrowed time. The cost here is not so straightforward. The cost could be fiscal, as keeping someone knocking on death’s door can be very expensive. The cost could be someone else’s life, where only that person’s organs will prolong the inevitable for ten to fifteen more years. The cost could also be emotional, as families have spent time preparing for the end; when the patient makes it past the diagnosed time, since we humans are creatures of hope, a small part of us may begin to wonder if your loved one is the statistical anomaly, the one exception. The price for this borrowed time, is devastation.

Strangely enough, a night filled with alcohol can become a night of borrowed time as well. We become the people we repress for the duration that the ethanol remains in our systems; we do the things that we dearly want to, or the things that we wish that we had never thought of doing but do anyway. Drinking that extra drink that pushed us over the edge and made us sick, kissing that one person you care about that does not feel the same way about you, getting on the stage to sing that Backstreet Boys (shame on you if you have to click that link to figure out who they are) song in front of a hundred people – you name the ridiculous deed, and someone has probably done it while under the influence. The price here, in most cases, is almost always purely emotional; feelings of guilt, confusion, anger, sadness, or regret, all usually directed toward ourselves, are the most commonly associated emotions here.

Despite all the costs, we find ourselves wanting, wishing, hoping, begging for that borrowed time. While inside that sphere of time, the laughter, love, and happiness brought about by being able to buy that house that we would have spent thirty years saving up for, to be with our loved ones for one more day, to hold hands and softly kiss that person who means so much to you for one more hour, to not have any shame while screaming your lungs out on that stage for one more minute.

We cling on to those spare moments, not thinking of the consequences for as long as we can, because we as human beings are creatures that strive on hope and happiness; even if we know that happiness may be short-lived, in the end, that small measure of happiness is better than nothing at all, and that is why we justify the cost to ourselves.

Photo credit: Blackmarketarts

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