"Yer a lang time deid!"
Carpe diem in other words. ("Seize the day.") Make the most of the present time. You only have one life, so live while you have the chance. Take risks, go after what you want, experience things even if they don't last, don't fret so much about the future. (And as ever, to thine own self be true.)
I just ran across the Scottish way of saying it and I think I'll adopt it. It's plainer yet more vivid than most of the many other ways of saying the same thing.
Mike, who let too many days fly by
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David Miller: "Och, yoor a guid lad, Michael. (Foor a Sassenach….)"
Mike replies: Had to look that up. Sassenach: "The Gaelic term for a Saxon. Survives in modern day Ireland and Scotland as a derogatory term for an English person." (Urban Dictionary).
Actually I'm ethnically lowland Scottish as much as English—Hamilton on my mother's side and Johnston on my father's—unless all Americans are automatically Sassenachs?
Dillan: "I think all of us 'let too many days fly by.' Thank you very much for the reminder. A message like this is welcome with me any time."
Justin Blakie: "I have Hamilton on my father's side. Hello cousin!"
Mike replies: Greetings Cousin.
...Which reminds me of a story. :-)
When I was in college I got enamored of a girl right before she left for a semester in England. We planned on meeting in Ireland when she got out of school at the end of summer, where we were going to rent a caravan and wander the Irish countryside for a fortnight in a happy romantic adventure. (Who knows how that would have gone.) But in England she fell in love with an Englishman, who (of course) insisted that she break her plans with me. But she couldn't face telling me, so she procrastinated...forgetting that if she waited too long, it would be too late for me to get my airline ticket refunded. She finally called me to tell me not to come...on the day before my flight was supposed to leave.
So I had my airline ticket, which was worthless if I didn't use it. I was even packed. So I went to Ireland anyway. I ended up spending three weeks wandering Ireland alone.
One of the places I landed was a small town called Kinvara, on the West coast. I stayed at a pub and boardinghouse called "Winkles." (I found this online: "Tiffy Winkle Moylan—the unofficial 'Queen of Kinvara'—and her husband Kieran (both now gone) ran the family’s famous old hotel and pub, 'Winkles' (no longer extant), on the small town square (now barely extant). Tiffy was intensly curious about, and probably knew most of, everything going on in Kinvara.")
Because there were a great many Johnstons in the Kinvara phone book—they came to Kinvara during the 'Troubles' in Scotland in the 1700s and many of them emigrated on to America in the 1800s—Tiffy assumed I was sprung from the Kinvara Johnstons, so she welcomed me with open arms, immediately began calling me 'Cousin,' and introduced me all around to the locals as "Cousin Michael from America."
It was nice, being a cousin. I was hitchhiking one day when a tiny car hauling a large open flatbed trailer went careening past me. Up the road it stopped, and started laboriously backing up for me. As I ran up to the car, I heard a child's voice from inside say, "We must stop, he's a cousin!" The car was so chock-full of kids and dogs that I rode into town on the trailer, and the ride was a little hairy. But it was kind of them to stop.
The stern policeman
Another story of Winkle's...in Ireland at that time it was illegal for the pubs to stay open past 11:00 at night, I think it was. But on Saturday night, come closing time, a lookout was stationed up at the corner to look for the policeman on patrol, and the party went right on into the wee hours. Every twenty minutes or so, the lookout gave a signal, the music stopped, the lights were doused, and everybody in the place hit the floor and lay there without uttering a sound while we watched the policeman amble past the windows.
This went on for hours. I had befriended a "Black Irish" girl who cleaned the rooms of the boardinghouse. (The term, which I guess the Irish themselves don't really use, refers to people in the West of Ireland who have pale skin and black hair—she also had blue eyes—who, according to legend, are descended from shipwrecked Spaniards). Her unusual Gaelic name is lost to my memory now, but we were dancing together that night, so she and I would crouch on the floor side-by-side when we were all hiding from the constable.
As we lay there illuminated by light from the streetlight outside, it seemed to me that the policeman would see us all pretty easily if he were to just turn his head and look in the windows. Whispering, I asked my dance partner why he never looked in.
"Because he might see us!" she whispered back, as if explaining something to an eight-year-old.
I pondered this one for a moment, then asked, "You mean he knows we're in here?"
"Of course he knows we're in here. He's not simple." she said.
"But...but if he knows we're in here...then why are we hiding?"
"Well, for heaven's sake. For the same reason he doesn't look in the window. Because if he were to see us, he'd have to break up the party, and then everyone would have to go home. And that wouldn't be very much fun now would it?"
At about two-thirty in the morning, as I recall, the constable finally did stick his head in the door, and shout very sternly that if any of us lawbreakers weren't gone by the time he passed by on his next round, he was going to run us right off to jail.
And then, in a mood that seemed as buoyant as it was convivial, everyone said goodbyes all around and the place quickly emptied.
Gerry Winterbourne: "Apropos your policeman, much of Wales was 'dry' on Sundays back in the '50s (and other decades). One Sunday a couple of us tried to persuade a publican to serve us—his door was open while he cleaned the bar. He refused on the grounds that the local policeman would be round shortly so we wandered on. An hour later as we returned there was, indeed, a police bicycle leaning by the door so we congratulated ourselves on our escape. I didn't mention we were under age at the time. It was only with the wisdom of later years that we realised what the policeman was doing inside the bar...."