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How the latest James Bond film reminds us to harness the best of life.

After finishing dinner last Sunday, the boys asked if we could all see a movie. They knew their grandpa wanted to see the new James Bond movie and asked if we could take him to it. And so, for the first time since February of 2020, we visited a movie theater.

Zooming into the theater parking lot as rapidly as Bond’s Aston Martin, we grabbed our popcorn, took our seats and spent the next several hours entertained by a renown and beloved Secret Agent. (Considering James Bond has been actively serving The Queen since 1953, he looked incredibly youthful and handsome!)

Now, this will not dissolve into a movie review of No Time to Die. Although the movie was entertaining, it was a quote shared near the end of the show – and the simple challenge it offered – that moved me.

In one of the final scenes, a collection of friends gathers to celebrate what it looks like to live well, serve with honor and lead a life of impact. One of the leaders stands, clears his throat, and reads this quote from an old book:

“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

And with that, the others nod their heads, raise their glasses and toast to life.

The quote is actually taken from the American writer Jack London. As moving as the short excerpt is, the entire paragraph from which it originally was printed is even more brilliant. It is lifted from an essay published in The San Francisco Bulletin in 1916:

“I would rather be ashes than dust. I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze then it should be stifled by a dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in a magnificent glow, then a sleepy and permanent planet. For the proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

My friends, the last 20 months have reminded all of us of the unpredictability and fragility of life.

If we’ve been living intentionally, though, they’ve also served as a powerful reminder that although we can’t always choose the path we walk in life, we are absolutely free to choose the manner in which we walk it.

So how shall we live?

Ashes, rather than dust. Brilliant blaze, rather than dry rot. Truly living, rather than merely existing. Harnessing the best of your time and life, rather than enduring and merely prolonging them.

It was a good reminder for three generations of O’Leary boys gathered at a movie theater on a Sunday evening to receive.

And it’s possibly a timely, challenging and encouraging reminder as you step into your week that your time is a profound gift. Let’s choose to use it well.

I’ll cheers to that.

This is your day. Live Inspired.

7 replies on “I Shall Use My Time”

We often need gentle reminders of our foundation to build our structures. Thank you. PS Didn’t like the ending. Bond should have enjoyed his daughter.

As a young person in catechism class I learned that our purpose is to glorify God & enjoy Him forever. Too many people forget the enjoyment part. Thank you for the reminder.

Thank you John. I too felt the same way when I heard these words from the last Bond. Now, combined with your words, they will reach more souls encouraging us all to persevere, always.

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.