It’s Non-refundable 


With most things in life, there’s a receipt or a chance to get a refund. There’s only one thing (as far as I’m concerned) that cannot be redeemed, and that’s time. It’s my most precious commodity, and believe me, I treat it accordingly, and I don’t let others abuse or waste the time I have.

My daily objective is to be productive, to accomplish at least one thing so that I feel I made the most of my allotted time. I got off of a plane yesterday afternoon, jet-lagged, sleepy, and yet, my soul was reenergized, ready for the challenges and projects I’ve given myself for the next seven weeks, or basically, the time between vacations. In my life, I use vacations as dangling carrots to get me through the grind of being me. I impose deadlines upon myself based on the next vacation, and it seems to be working for the most part, which is why I try to schedule a vacation or getaway about every six to eight weeks. It’s been working for me the last three years, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

When I woke up today, November 4th, 2019, writing this article was at the top of my list. I meant to write it while on vacation, but I didn’t slot any time for it. I was too busy driving on the wrong side of the road, kissing the Blarney Stone, tasting whiskey, meeting Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, traipsing Westminster Abbey, and gazing thoughtfully at Big Ben, reminding myself of the elusiveness of time. Sometimes we allow ourselves to blink, and weeks and months have gone by, just like that. The seconds of our lives are ticking by, and we can’t press ‘pause’ or ‘rewind’ at any point. I’ve got an agenda, and I’m racing against the clock, trying to make the most of my existence in this universe.

I have very few non-holiday social appointments for these next seven weeks. My plans don’t revolve around those types of things during my working periods between vacations. Basically, I don’t have the time. I work at my nine to five job Monday through Friday, and I grind at my other “jobs” around the clock. My mind is always whirring as I complete projects, start new ones, and map out the calendar of my life. When I say that my schedule is full, I’m not exaggerating in the least. God willing (and da’ creek don’t rise) I’ll be blessed to see everything through to fruition.

After I finish this piece, I’ll scan it again, email it to Auntie Vicki, then I’ll work on other things. I’ll swap emails with my personal assistant Tasha, send a few creative ideas to my publisher (trying to get a job!), schedule meetings and interviews regarding my magazine project, plot out a few trips for prospective clients for my travel agency, and then I’ll write for a couple of hours before napping again before work. I’ll repeat parts of this same routine every day this week, and yes, my weekend is already planned out. Business meetings, writing, sleep, and time with my wife, that’s it. I can’t afford to waste any more time.

I say that about “any more time,” because this has not always been my way, and I lament the time I’ve wasted not being productive or taking advantage of the talents He’s given me. I shake my head with regret at the seconds, hours, days, weeks, months, years, and decades that I willingly gave away to the wrong people, misguided goals, and lackluster events that dominated my twenties and thirties. I can’t rewind that time, and my receipts are meaningless. I have the lessons as souvenirs though, so I guess I got something from that period. I just wish those lessons had not cost me so much in pain, stress, and more importantly, time.

This season of my life has been mind-blowing, and I wake up each day, thankful for all that He’s allowed me to do and see. Funny, but it seems as if I never took enough notice of the wonders created by Him, or at least not as much as I acknowledge Him now. Here I am, a kid raised on the South Side of Chicago by a single mother, bucking the so-called odds against me. I’m in a healthy relationship (finally!), my children are grown and finding their way, and my momma is proud of me. I’m negotiating a contract for another novel, which will give me eight under contract, with the first one rolling out in 2020. Hallelujah. I’m putting the pieces in place to roll out a newly created magazine before winter is over, and it’s looking good so far. Hallelujah. I’m also working on a script with my cousin, the aforementioned Tasha, for our production company, with the goal being to film a short movie in the next few months. Hallelujah. My next two novels are being written and plotted out, with the plan being to have them finished by the springtime. Hallelujah. Oh, and my travel calendar has been penciled in for the next two years, with the only dates not added being book release parties and writer conferences. Amen.

I know that life is not promised for tomorrow, which is why I take full advantage of today so that there will be no lamentations about yesterday. I’m fully appreciative of where I’m at on my journey, which is why I’m making the most of it. I don’t want any more regrets on my ledger, because there have been enough of those. I’ll keep smiling on the sunny days, and remembering the sunny days when I’m faced with the cloudy and dark moments. My life, my way, and I promise God I won’t waste a single precious second of my time. Treat it like a commodity, and the rewards will be abundant…

Marlon S. Hayes is a writer, novelist, blogger, poet, essayist, and author from Chicago, Illinois. He’s currently on his third ‘Bucket List’ which is chock full of things he would once have been scared to dream of. His work can be found on Amazon, and he can be followed at Marlon’s Writings on Facebook,, Voices from the Bleachers on Facebook, and Is You Going? On Facebook. Peace…

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