It's Later than You Think...

As I write this it is my youngest son's 10th birthday... How did that happen? Where did those years, and a whole lot more beside, disappear? A few occurances and conversations recently have made me a wee bit more aware of the passing of the years and my own mortality than before... I suppose it's something to do with my own age...

Speaking of which, last night I was actually out enjoying my birthday present from my wife... OK my birthday was in July, but she bought me tickets for a concert (today she's bought me tickets for another concert in May as my Christmas present... There's a pattern developing here). It was a concert by Jools Holland and his fabulous Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, with Alison Moyet as guest artist. The whole night was great but it definitely stepped up a gear when she came on stage. I haven't seen her live since 1986 and was surprised to see that he's lost a heap of weight, but she's lost none of her vocal power. As I said over on facebook she has a voice like liquid chocolate with a large shot of cognac in it. As she sang her 1982 song "Only You" in one way the years just dropped away, but in others the intervening years added a depth and poignancy to the words that was spine-tingling, and of course gave added maturity to that already wonderful voice. It was a shame she only did 4 songs, but when she went off Ruby Turner came on so it wasn't a bad trade off.

But I again pondered on the passing of the years with one of the sign-off songs the R&B orchestra played towards the end of the set. Its a regular feature and was written by Carl Sigman and Herb Magidson back in 1949. It's entitled "Enjoy Youself (It's Later than You Think)" and was recently taken up by Simon Mayo for the end of his drive time show on BBC Radio 2.
The chorus goes:

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think;
Enjoy yourself, while you're still in the pink.
The years go by as quickly as a wink -
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it's later than you think.

It contrasts the focus on money, with the joys of clubs, foreign travel and beautiful women, suggesting that there's not much point in spending time making money if you don't allow yourself to enjoy what it can buy. And in the absence of any thought of eternity, that's a fair contrast... The prophet Isaiah suggests that it was the mindset of many in the face of impending disaster
But see, there is joy and revelry,
slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep,
eating of meat and drinking of wine!
"Let us eat and drink," you say,
"for tomorrow we die!"
Isaiah 22:13 (ANIV)

And later Paul writes to the church in Corinth (a place where many went to "enjoy themselves") suggesting that the same philosophy should guide us if there is no resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:32).
But in the light of resurrection and eternity, neither money nor the things it can buy... nor indeed fleeting romances, should be our priority... "Enjoying" ourselves in such terms may produced limited dividends, but have few long term benefits. Rather we should be investing our time, our efforts, our lives and our love into those who will live on, and that which will live on... And that becomes more and more important with the passing of the years...

The years go by as quickly as a wink -'s later than you think.

So I'm away to spend time with my son...


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