Time is Non-Refundable

Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.

~Harvey Mackay

I have come to learn that life unfolds like a book; some things we anticipate, most are unpredictable, and the players and landscape can change without warning. Although we may have little control over specific circumstances, we do have full accountability in how we respond.

Life is complicated, it is easy, it is beautiful, it is messy, and can be hard when tough things happen all at once…

Our son and his girlfriend were in a ‘car rage’ incident, and the other driver pulled a gun and shot at them, with the bullet going through the back passenger window. They are not harmed but traumatized.

My dear friend’s Mother just passed away suddenly from natural causes. She is heartbroken and is now a Motherless Daughter.

Our son’s best friend would have been 30 years old this week. Sadly, he committed suicide and never saw this day.

Tyre Nichols lost his life at the brutal hands of police officers in Memphis Tennessee. A senseless, sad, and horrific act that is repeating itself without change.

As I sit and ‘feel the feels’ of trauma and loss, there is a common thread that binds:

Your life can change instantly without warning.

There is a keen awareness for me now around, living and dying, beginning and endings and what happens in-between.

Although I cannot change what has happened, I know that time is non-refundable, and I want to make it count.

So, for today, I am laser-focused on:

Moments Matter: To be completely present with my own feelings, my surroundings, my intentions and stay highly present and engaged in every interaction. Connection and belonging are key for those I love the most – I want them to hear and feel my heart.

Intentional Mindfulness: There is time we control and time we waste. Where am I feeling disconnected? Disengaged? Aligned? Centered? Joyful? My hope is to have more clarity on how I am using the time I have with this life that was given to me.

Inviting Courage to the Table: Finding the courage to soar and the courage to fail. Creating more opportunities to explore new activities, conversations or adventures that take me to my growing edges. Hoping to look back with no regrets because fear was the cornerstone.

How often have we looked backwards with some sense of remorse or regret? Unresolved forgiveness, words unspoken, dreams that dwindled, love held but never shared?

How will you spend your time today?


Carolyn Lebanowski
Carolyn Lebanowski
She began her professional career in retail and grew to become an experienced and respected senior-level executive with particular expertise in strategic development, organizational communication, and executive coaching. After nearly three decades of career growth in corporate organizational development, Carolyn was ready for a career change—and a life change. This led to a new role and the most challenging, enriching, and rewarding work of her life, as a Strategic Business Leader for nonprofit spiritual institutions. These roles provide her the opportunity to fuse the professional and the personal, aligning her business acumen with her spiritual identity and passion for the development of human potential—in her colleagues, her community, and herself. Carolyn is a writer who seeks above all to share from the heart. Her impulse to write began 20 years ago with letters to her children and grew into journaling that was unedited and life-affirming. Today she writes with a focus on raw, authentic experience, drawn from real life, to explore, express, and make sense of the pain and joy, struggles and triumphs, of life. In all her endeavors, she champions connection, integrity, and radical positivity.

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    • Thank you so much Ipek.
      You have been on my mind and in my heart in the wake of the earthquake. I can only imagine how you are feeling. So glad your family is out of harm’s way.
      Life is short, life is precious…and we just never know.

      If you need to talk or process, I am always here for you.

  1. Dearest Carolyn, Thank you for your words. They went straight to my heart as a blessing and as a gift. As someone who recently has also been reeling from so many unexpected shifts and pivots, your thoughts about the preciousness of time and the significance of our choices in every moment ring true and clear. My prayer is that you, and those who stories you just shared, find both solace and inspiration in your words, as I have.

    • Thank you so much Minx!
      Living life can be complicated and messy – beautiful and amazing. It all comes full circle.
      When hard things happen is where are greatest learnings live. I love what you said here:… solace and inspiration. This and That.

    • Larry, thank you so much for responding… It means more than you know.
      Just one of the hundreds of reasons I love this community.

  2. First I am alarmed by the experience your son went through my friend Carolyn. It is a tough experience.

    Yes, we do not know what shall unfold in the future but we are accountable how we respond to it.
    Enjoy the moment coupled with intntional mindfulness to meet challenges are spot on.

    A great read today.

    • Always so grateful for your words and your insights Ali.
      We are all just living this beautiful, complicated and messy life together – being human.

      Moving forward now with intentional mindfulness my friend.