Are you living on borrowed time?

Borrowed time – We have all heard the expression “you are living on borrowed time.” Of course, this means to go on living after the time you should have died. The phrase goes back to the seventeenth century (see http://www.phrases.org.uk). My sister was given several weeks to live after being diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. She went on to live five more years and even survived one round of hospice care to live a few more years after that. She just did not want to die. She lived many happy if not healthy years on borrowed time. I often wondered who she paid this time back to and who she actually borrowed it from.

I think if you live life like there will be no tomorrow you are living on borrowed time. We all know people who disproportionately flaunt the risks of life. People who drink and drive are living on borrowed time. People who ride motorcycles without wearing a helmet are living on borrowed time. People who do not exercise or watch their weight are living on borrowed time. People who smoke are living on borrowed time. Each day you take unnecessary risks, you are living on borrowed time. You may cheat death each day, but it is also a day that you owe to someone and you will eventually be called upon to pay. The actuaries are betting millions that you will die when they say you will and people living on borrowed time generally pay up when due.

Are you one of the people living on borrowed time? What is the cost you pay for living on borrowed time? Who do you borrow this time from? Who do you pay it back to? When do you think they will come to collect? I think you borrow it from those who love and those who care for you. They would rather have you than the money.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bgalbreath
    Dec 21, 2011 @ 14:07:23

    I don't really get who you borrow the time from or who you pay it back to, and what interest would be, so the phrase does not ring true to me. I prefer to think of “bonus” time. If you've been through experiences where you nearly died or should have died, then everything that comes after that is like a gift, a bonus you may not deserve, but get anyway. I can think of 5 such experiences in my life, and there may have been more. So I've already gotten my fair share, and more besides. That doesn't mean that I shouldn't try to take care of myself, but it does diminish somewhat my fear of dying and any desperate clinging to life I might otherwise be prone to.

    Reply

  2. John Persico
    Dec 21, 2011 @ 23:16:05

    I guess some “times” are a stretch Bruce. I like to take expressions and play with them. Bonus time is an interesting idea but not too commonly used. John

    Reply

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