What is borrowed time, and where does it come from? Is it a loan taken out at birth … X amount of time borrowed from the future? Is the plan to spend it down over the years until it is gone? Or does one pay back into the fund and so recalibrate the interest due at the end? And if so, how are those payments to be made? Is there an actuary involved to calculate the odds of survival? Do individual chromosomes determine the principal, or the interest? Does the interest accrue if a payment is missed? Or is there a grace period for extenuating circumstances?

Do good habits constitute an agreement to extend the life of the loan? Are all good habits of equal value? When calculating how to stay alive, looking both ways before crossing the street must be of more value than say getting up early. But so many other things like brushing your teeth or exercising must also be factored into the mix. So, are the habits your mother instilled part of the original loan agreement? Do we get a new contract when childhood is left behind? And when do we ever get to read the fine print on the loan document? Is good health dependent on healthy living. Or is the outcome really a craps shoot, where the loan shark wears a flashy tuxedo and smokes a cigar? Can we re-negotiate the terms of our loan, or is it all down to whether or not I loved bologna and mayo on Wonder Bread as a child? So many, many questions.

There are days when it is clear I have borrowed from my investment portfolio of well-lived younger days and a lifetime of activity and good habits. But here is the thing … Good habits are all well and good, but there is something to be said for the underside of motivation. Despite the concern we all seem to have about feeling guilt, stress, or anxiety, I am here to tell you that without those chief motivational loan officers, I would be long dead. I am always amazed at how guilt, social ergonomics, and peer pressure, united to overcome my inclination to circumvent being good. My normal couch potato persona and generic inertia, would have guaranteed any number of overdrafts against my borrowed time. And, given my three primary food groups … sugar, fat, and carbs … only vanity and the social stigma of obesity has prompted me to good eating habits. Throw in an inherited proclivity to procrastination, and you have drawn the perfect picture of a happy but dead zombie.

As life continues to give me days filled with good health, joy, and amazement, I am left to wonder just when the last interest payments on my loan will come due. When shall I run out of the time allotted to me by the fickle finger of fate. It would be really nice to have some advance warning … I mean, I really wouldn’t mind spending my last days eating chocolate cake, drinking champagne, and doing my impression of a couch potato. Who wouldn’t?

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