Being ‘next in line’ can make one appreciate life

Published 6:00 am Sunday, September 25, 2016

jim mccauley 1Remember all the times you heard the words: “Next in Line.” You might have been at City Grocery or the Beacon and the hostess said: “You’re next in line.” Or, you were in Kroger and you found an empty checkout lane and said to yourself; “Wow! “I’m next in line.”

Maybe the greatest joy would be when you’re in your doctor’s office and the nurse says; “You’re next in line,” which unfortunately means you only have a one hour wait.

All this sounds good, except I’ve been thinking about the fact that I’m getting closer to being “next in line” and it’s not a pleasant thought. When I was younger, and I mean not too many years ago, I didn’t think much about leaving this life. I always had aunts and uncles and parents who were older than me, so I wasn’t “next in line.” The sobering thought now is most of my buffer zone is gone. I am moving up to the head of the line. Good Lord, how did that happen?

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I’ve been rolling right along having a wonderful life and suddenly I hear “Hey fellow, you’re next in line!” I’ve got to go back and see what in the world I did to get myself in this situation. Yes, my children are in their and 50’s and I do have grandchildren in college, and we have a great-grandchild, Yes, I know, it’s hard to believe, so I guess it’s just life. The key is to make the best of it.

I’m not intending to check out anytime soon; however, I have some advice. First of all, realize how important your family and friends are — sometimes we take that for granted. Remember, strong family relationships and solid friendships take a lot of effort on your part, it’s not automatic.

Next, take care of yourself. You being healthy and happy is a blessing to all, nobody wants to see a family member or a good friend fighting a bad health or mental situation. I can hear you now saying, “No problem, I’ll start later, maybe next month.”

No, do it now!

Next, make sure you have faith in something greater than yourself. You may think you’re in control of your fate, but friend, I have a newsflash for you, you’re not. Think about how blessed you are to have this life experience and give thanks every moment. Enjoy and learn from the good and the bad.

Next, share what you have with other people. I don’t mean your money; I mean share your love, your talents and yourself. Many people, for various reasons, do not have what you have, mentally or physically. You can make a huge difference in people’s lives. You can be meaningful to someone. As Nike says: “Just do it!”

I now have a 99-year-old mother, soon to be 100 and a 100-year-old aunt soon to be 101, both living here in Oxford. When I look at them, I realize that someday I might be 100. Oh sure, I have around 23 years to go, but when I look back 23 years it sure doesn’t seem that long ago.

But “life is good.” I’ve got a T-shirt and a hat that says so.

I think there are a lot of us cruising through life and that’s OK as long as you cherish every minute and understand the “Next in Line” theory.

I’m sorry if this is starting to sound like a sermon. However sometimes when you really think about actually being “Next in Line,” it might bring you down. Don’t let it. Just tell yourself how blessed you’ve actually been. Think about it!

Jim McCauley is a retired Oxford resident. You can reach him at