A lot can happen in ten years.

When we moved into our house nine years ago, the kid next door was a shy little six-year old. Today I glanced out the front window and saw him pass our house – driving his dad’s pickup.

My niece still enters my memory as what she was ten years ago when we left our hometown to move here – a tiny little girl with a mischievous grin. She’s now almost six feet tall, looks like a model, and is engaged to be married.

Wait, wait… slow down, it’s going too fast…

Ten years ago, I was 35. You can do the math. Now I’m bearing down on my 46th birthday like a runaway train. I have a lot more gray hair, and my laugh lines are looking more like little roads, slowly trying to link my eyes up with my ears.

Where did all that time go?

The sad truth is, you can’t stop the march of time. You either march along with it, or you get passed by.

I’m coming to realize that if I don’t move forward with my dreams today (no matter how screwball those dreams may seem), tomorrow isn’t going to wait.

It’s coming.

My wife and I have adopted two beautiful children over the past seven years. The process for both was at times long, frustrating and seemingly endless. But the fact is that if we hadn’t taken the first steps in that process, we’d be at the same point in time right now – with no kids to show for it.

That thought staggers me.

That thought staggered both of us when we were considering starting a third adoption. Having gone through it twice before, we knew the potential for delays and disappointment. But we also knew that the amount of time required to see an adoption through was going to pass – regardless of whether we were in process or not.

We could put in our paperwork and wait several years to see our new child – or we could let those same several years elapse without taking any action at all.

The result would certainly be different.

No effort now = no child = no change.

Some effort now = another beautiful child = all of our lives impacted forever.

The difference in the two equations is what we decided to do – or not do – with our lives at one given moment, in preparation for an expected future.

In this case, we chose to march ahead with the parade of time, rather than simply cheer and watch as it passed us by.

You have a choice, too.

Participate. Don’t Spectate.

I see evidence all around me, every day, of the unchangeable, inexorable passage of time. I know my time on this earth is limited, and the hard truth is that nobody gets out of life alive. So I’m choosing to do things with my life that may be difficult now, but will definitely be worthwhile looking back.

I will not dream without action.

I will not wish to be a writer – I’ll do it. I am doing it, right now.

I will continue to try, and do, and learn as much as I can about all that I can, between now and the time I assume room temperature.

I will continue to work on my writing, until I publish my first novel – and then I’ll publish some more.

Because the alternative is waking up one day, finding myself another ten years older – ten years closer to the end – but still no closer to the dream.

You can’t put time back in the bottle. It’s constantly pouring forth – we can’t even slow it down. The trick is to get that time to pour into the vessel of a full life – a life lived well with no regrets.

The next decade will surely pass, whether you like it or not. Why not, after it’s gone, look back on dreams accomplished, rather than dreams lost forever?

Where will you be in the next ten years?