365 days to live
FROM FAR AND NEAR - Ruben Almendras (The Freeman) - December 31, 2019 - 12:00am

In a few hours it will be a new year 2020 and with it a lot of hopes and wishes for us, our families, relatives, and friends. A year is a construct of a period of time by consensus when it became obvious that the Gregorian calendar is the most rational way of reckoning days, weeks, months, and years, based on the movements of the earth and the moon in relation to the sun. There are still some world inhabitants that follow a different calendar, but a great majority accept and live by the Gregorian calendar and use it as a timeline guidepost.

We celebrate a new year for many different reasons. It could be an end to a difficult year and the start of a better year, a continuation of a good year and even a more bountiful year for some, on the presumption that we will be around for another whole year. For the elderly, the sick, and those with riskier lifestyles this may not apply, but all are still grateful for starting another year. In the year just passed, I had family, relatives, and friends who departed at varying ages before their expected time. I grieved and prayed with/and for them but had to accept the reality of the fragility of life here on earth.

Twenty years is 7,300 days and 10 years is 3,650 days, which is probably what most people in their fifties want to believe to be their remaining days. Those in their thirties and forties maybe more, but what if we have only 365 more days? What should we do with these 365 days of our life? After a review of the life we have lived so far, we would surely prepare for the eventuality and live a more socially ethical/moral life, a more purpose-driven life with an eye on the hereafter, even if one is not that religious. The world would be a better place for all, if many people have only 365 days left after a New Year, which is actually a given, because we really do not know how many days are left for us. There are no guarantees and I believe God made it so we can decide how we should live our lives.

Going over the state of affairs in the world today, of which we are more informed and aware due to the available information and communication technologies, social and political turmoil is happening all over. While the percentage of the world’s population in extreme poverty have gone down significantly over the last 100 years, from 52% to 11%, the world population has ballooned to over 7 billion, so that almost a billion people are living on less than $1 a day, on top of the people starving in conflict-torn countries. Social and political oppression may have also lessened due to more transparency and worldwide exposé of oppressive regimes, but some 50% of people worldwide are under duress and injustice.

Power, whether arising from lineage, influence, strength, or wealth carries much responsibility. Those who have it, have the ability and resources to make meaningful changes for the greater good. Looking at the current leaders of nation and countries, it appears many are wanting and are predominantly promoting self-interests, whether it be the economic and political arenas and freedoms, or the bigger ecological disasters awaiting the world. Sometimes, I wonder if many of these abusive leaders believe that they will live forever and are responsible only for themselves and not for others.

For the many of us who lead less-significant lives, we should do our share to leave a better world than when we arrived, no matter how long we have stayed. We should make every 365 days count for the better. Maybe God should make our lives renewable every 365 days. Happy New Year.

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