The last time.
The last time. Three words. Many stories.
The last time. Every day version.
We are fully aware – or can be fully aware – it’s the last time for something. It’s common knowledge. The last third-grade baseball game with Coach Rick; the last day of summer; the last day at the job... Sometimes knowing it’s the last time inspires us to live into the moments. These last times are a positive sign of progress, growing, and – well – life. It’s supposed to happen.
The last time. Sad version.
The sad version causes us to pause. It is often a remembrance of days past. It doesn’t feel like it was supposed to happen.
I think about my big brother, Andy. The last time we went exploring at the creek or the last time he teased me before he died suddenly March 29, 1985. Those last times have brought many tears – slowly moving into smiles – over the last 30 years.
I think about the last time I talked to Ann Monaco before she was killed by a drunk driver while jogging. And I can’t help but also remember that the week before her accident I canceled a scheduled lunch because I was “too busy at work.”
More recently, I think about the last time my cousin Kathi and I walked and talked in the yard. The weather was beautiful that March day. It was the day before her official diagnosis, but she knew. I knew. The journey was going to end in a way nobody expected. She was smiling. Always smiling. “Let’s walk while we can, Dawn.” Kathi talked about how lucky she was to have such a wonderful family and husband. She did wish, though, that she could have a drink of ice water. This was the last time I walked and talked with Kathi. I think of her every time I have a sip of water.
These last times become a part of our story and somehow help us step into today’s moments more fully. Knowing – yet not dwelling on the fact – that it could be the last time.
The last time. Serious and resolute version.
Then there’s a very serious and resolute last time. This is the last time when we’re making a conscious choice to move in a new direction. It might be the decision to confront an addiction, kick a bad habit, or repair or exit a relationship.
The last time. With gusto and conviction.
This is the pep talk we give ourselves and others to encourage doing what’s needed for improvement and greatness. Some chapters – and books – must end before new ones can begin. We all know this, but at the pivot an encouraging voice can make a world of difference.
The last time. Reflective and heartwarming version.
This last time is related to the sad version, but it’s happy. It’s the last time we were here and recall what happened. This last time is remembering joy and laughter and – in the process of sharing – reliving the memory. This is the good stuff.
The last time. Growth version.
This last time inspires progress and growth. We use it to learn from decisions, projects, experiences, and conversations. This last time fuels continuous improvement in ourselves, our work, and our relationships. It happens when we have the guts to look back and figure out what worked, what didn’t and how we can do better next time. Courage, grit, grace, and a bit of humor are helpful.
The last time. These three words occur at the intersection of past and future. In what other scenarios do we use these words?
I look forward to hearing from you.