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At the very moment you are conceived, an hourglass is tipped to the other side... What do you do with this time?

By Mark LangenhorstPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 5 min read

At the very moment you are born, an hourglass is tipped to the other side. The sands within the hourglass start its descent downward, and once every finite grain has plummeted to the bottom, your life comes to a halt. What do you do with this time? This answer varies with each person. Some spend their time with family and friends, soaking up every opportunity allowable, enjoying the miniscule moment of existence with loved ones. Others go after fame and fortune, they are willing to put everything they have on the line for a moment of power, riches that some can’t even begin to fathom, and a booming voice that could be heard from wherever they desire. Few are dedicated to helping others, they live a modest life doing everything within their means to enrich the lives around them. They understand what it’s like to fall on hard times, most of them have experienced that pain themselves, and they cannot stand to see others go through the hardships that they have. Whatever it is that you do, it’s easier in the long run to decide early so you can optimize the time you have doing what you love.

As for me, I’ve always liked to have perfect balance; having enough of a grasp of each different aspect of life, of which I could enjoy a sample size without having to relinquish another. In retrospect, I think this is the downfall that I almost immediately encountered once placed in this life.

As the hourglass tipped, I was told by my Creator that this life is full of vast, limitless choices, and within those choices lie even more choices. The more you delve into something, the more questions arise and not enough answers. It’s like placing an aspect of your life under a microscope. You could dissect each part and learn how they work together to create the aspect as a whole, or you could move on to the next aspect to see how that one works. While your curiosity towards experiencing new things pulls you one way, the need to understand how each component operates pulls you another. You have to pick one. How unfair it is that you have to pick one! With all the choices in this life that are offered to us, why are we given such little time to decide? Doesn’t that seem to make the decision that much more significant, which makes me want to think about it further to make sure I pick something with which I am comfortable?

A quarter of my hourglass has already emptied to the bottom. It seems to be going faster.

What if I choose fame and fortune, and I’m able to succeed? I could use that fortune earned helping others, although I would sacrifice a lot of time with my loved ones. If I don’t choose early enough, would it be too late for me to go back and try something else if it doesn’t work out? Would I have the resources necessary to spend time with loved ones while helping others? What kind of life would I lead if I were to acquire riches and only help myself rather than those I love as well as people much less fortunate?

A third of my hourglass rushed downward like a raging waterfall.

I’m panicking. I try to take a breath, but only small pockets of air seem to be entering my lungs. I feel like I’ve been running my whole life, even though it seems as though my life had just started. I’m tired of running, but if I stand for too long, the hourglass quickly and relentlessly takes my life force; as if the second I stop to smell the roses, the roses would transform into a Venus flytrap that would envelop me and force me to watch this life resume without me. It seems like there is no in-between.

Half of the hourglass has fallen with an angry force.

I close my eyes and try to get control of myself. As I try to take a deep breath, I open my eyes and realize I am now stuck inside the bottom half of the hourglass, with the remaining sands crashing down upon me, burying me and replacing any last hope for oxygen. As I become completely covered in sand, I know that all I have to do to free myself is break the glass and expel the sand from the container, but I am in fear of breaking it, as if the terror of broken glass lacerating my flesh is keeping me from escaping. I scream for help at the top of my lungs, which is now becoming filled with sand. No one would be able to hear me, and if they did, they wouldn’t be able to help much at this point. The dread and anxiety I have suddenly turns into rage, and I punch the glass at a last hope to survive. A crack has formed! I punch some more, a bit harder this time, until I hear the hourglass start to shatter. As the pressure from the sand does the rest of the work in breaking through the hourglass, I look up to see the last remaining grains of sand falling straight towards me. I attempt to catch a few to keep them from falling to the bottom as the rest of the sand, which has already fallen, spews from the broken hourglass.

As I hold on to the last few grains of sand, now in my palms, a smile spreads across my face. As long as they don’t fall to the floor, I have total and complete control over my life and when it ends! As I think of the possibilities now available to me, I once again seem to become frozen by the endless opportunities. But this time, I can’t seem to lose my grip of the remaining sand. I can’t move. As I stand eternally frozen in time, in shock of the immensity of life’s prospects, all I can do is wish that I hadn’t caught those last grains of sand.

Short Story

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