The New Year of 1998 is still in its infancy. Most of us are still having trouble remembering to write the correct year on our checks. If you are old enough to have seen several dozen New Years come and go, you and I wonder where the time has gone.

While we fret about the fleeting nature of time, I would like to share with you some obvious facts that we already know about 1998. It will contain three hundred and sixty-five days-each having twenty-four hours. The hour hand of time will go around nearly nine thousand times before we greet 1999. A third of these hours will find us asleep. We will spend another third of the year at work or at school. This leaves the remaining third of the year-approximately three thousand hours-at our disposal and discretion. As we begin this year, allow me to suggest looking at this year as an opportunity to do things rather than to put in time.

How many opportunities will you seize? For example, how many times will you help someone who needs your aid in the coming year? How often will you take quality time with your family? How many snowfalls will you enjoy, or how many roses will you smell? This year will provide many hours of opportunity to enjoy the blessings of life.

On a more practical side, how much exercise will you engage in during this year? Will this year be the year that you get into shape and take care of your health? With a third of your life free to do the things that you want to do, you can easily find time to work out daily. Taking care of your body is critical if you want to add both quantity and quality to your life.

In a couple of weeks, I will turn fifty-five. The calendar claims that I have been around for six hundred and sixty months. However, it seems like just a handful of months ago that I lived in Dixon. As I look back upon graduation from high school, it feels like it was only a half dozen years ago and not three dozen. My life is speeding by. Haven't you noticed how your life is whirling past your eyes?

Looking ahead in my life, how long will it take me to reach sixty-five? It won't seem like a decade when I get there. The time that you and I have here is limited. Even if you are relatively young and seemingly healthy, that doesn't guarantee longevity. Actuarial tables of life insurance companies predict that I should live at least another eighteen years. However, actuarial tables are no guarantee for either of us. Six months ago, I was having a biopsy on my prostate to determine whether I had cancer. I bit the bullet and lucked out; I didn't have prostate cancer. However, something will end my life between now and whenever.

The number of springtimes that I will see daffodils bobbing their yellow heads in the vernal breezes is an unknown yet finite number. Further, you and I do not have a lock on an unlimited numbers of autumns with their multi-colored leaves swirling about making our yards into a kaleidoscope of colors and beauty.

In addition, the number of people to whom I can reach out and share experiences is also limited. Since each of us do not possess an abundance of sand in our earthly hourglass, we ought to carpe diem (seize the day) everyday this year and all of the remaining days of our lives. Life is the most prized and precious commodity that we will ever possess. Our lives aren't recyclable. Therefore, we should resolve to get into shape, enjoy life, and share our time with those who need us. It is also imperative to decide to live life to the fullest. If we do, we will have the time of our life during all of our years here on earth.