This week, as I complained about the task after task that continued to pile up on my dreaded to do list, I was reminded of a small but significant piece of wisdom shared with me by one of my professors last year.

It was spring, toward the end of my senior year of college. I had just told my journalism professor that whenever I thought my work was done, something else came up for me to do. In all of my college naivety, I suppose I thought that I was alone in that weariness, but my professor would soon teach me different. She thought for just a second before answering my complaint with the few simple words that have stuck with me ever since. “CharLy,” she said matter-of-factly, “that's just life.”

Looking back on that day now, I can see how impractical it was for me to think that the work would ever end. I know it's silly, but as I looked forward to graduation day, I know that I was picturing a time when there wouldn't be anything left for me to do but sit and bask in the relieved feeling of a hard work completed. Then and only then, I remember thinking, I would finally have the time to live my life.

As hard as I've tried to fight it's accuracy, I have since learned just how true my professor's keen statement was. No matter where we're at in life, it seems that there's always one more task to complete, and there's never enough time in the day to do everything that we think we need to do. And, no matter how many times we learn the clichéd lesson about taking the time to smell the roses, I think that all of us are guilty of putting life's most meaningful simple pleasures off until our “more pressing” work is done.

I know that I fell into that dangerous trap once again this week. But, this time, as I remembered my professor's insightful words, I decided to end that fruitless cycle for good. I finally realized, once and for all, that while I've been waiting to live my life, life-filled days have been passing me by. Sure, those days have been crammed to the brim with the inconvenient duties of the everyday world, but, as my instructor so wisely told me, that is life. If we continue to wait for those tasks to be complete, we will keep missing out on the simple joys that pervade through each and every one of our days, regardless of how unbearably busy they seem at the time.

While I was dwelling this week on the idea that I just never have enough time, a news story came on my television set and proved to me that time, as the saying goes, really is only what we make of it. The story featured little Brenden Foster, an 11-year-old boy who died of leukemia just a few short weeks ago. The feature, however, wasn't about Foster's death, but rather about the amazing things that the special kid did with his short life here on earth.

Towards the end of Foster's brave fight with cancer, the boy, like many unfortunate children destined to die before their time, made a dying wish. Foster's wish, though, wasn't to visit Disney World or to spend a day with his favorite celebrity. Instead of dreaming up one perfect day that would make his own pain just a bit more bearable, the selfless boy used his last wish to ease the pain of others. Desiring to do something to help the homeless people he often saw on his frequent trips to the hospital, Foster started a “pay it forward” phenomenon that has garnered remarkable results. Inspired by the weak little boy with the strongest of hearts, people around the world have donated thousands upon thousands of dollars toward helping those who they might have otherwise walked right on past.

As I watched video this week of Foster getting every single drop of worth out of his quickly fading last days, I looked back on my so called “lack of time” and cringed. Life, like Mrs. Merritt told me, will never stop handing us things to do, but that dying boy showed us that we all have enough time to do something great with our lives.

Before his death, Foster was able to witness the birth of his wonderful legacy. Now that his time here has run out, I imagine that inspirational boy watching from Heaven as the charitable funds continue to roll in in his honor.

Maybe he's looking down, too, on one person who has seen his story and realized that she has a lot more time than she thought she did. I hope he knows that it was he who inspired her to finally begin making the most of it.

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