Time is the Only Commodity We Can’t Control – Dottie Herman

Time is the Only Commodity We Can’t Control

Time is the Only Commodity We Can’t Control

Lately I’ve been thinking about time. How we spend it, waste it and take it for granted.

Here are three things I know about time.

  • Time doesn’t stop.
  • Time is the only commodity we can’t control.
  • We take time for granted and that prevents us from striving to live life to our full potential.

As time passes, our curiosity, flexibility, ability to learn, change and evolve tend to diminish if we don’t actively invest in ourselves. Even so, when you are fully committed to keeping yourself stimulated, engaged and constantly evolving, our time on Earth runs out relatively fast, precisely when you are looking at what has passed by rather than what lays ahead.

Tom Ferry, a top real estate coach we’ve worked with at Douglas Elliman, often talks about the addiction to the past and how it holds us back from living in the present.

“When I was younger I could….”

“My girlfriend/boyfriend in high school was the one that got away…”

“If only I had…”

And for many of us, we spend our present lives equally stuck living in the future.

“When I make this much money, I’ll finally do x, y or z…”

“One day I will…”

“When my kids are older and off to college I will finally start…”

The list goes on and on.

I’ve certainly done a lot of that kind of projecting in my own life. But I’ve recently been reminded that our present is all we have.

We have today. That’s it. And what a gift that is.

We can’t turn back the hands of time any more than we can leap into to the future. We don't get to decide about tomorrow. We only have today. Now. This moment.

So the question we should all be asking ourselves is, “What am I doing today with the time I have, right here, right now?”

You see, while we can’t control time, we certainly have the capability of controlling how we spend it. What we do with this precious commodity.

You and I each have the same 24 hours in a day. What you choose to do with yours will determine your tomorrow just as much as my choices will decide for me.

After taking a summer sabbatical, someone recently said to me, “Dottie, you’re so alive and awake.” I will be totally candid. This was the first time I can remember anyone saying that to me. It startled me at first because I didn’t really understand it. If I were alive and awake, did that somehow mean I had been dead and sleeping in the past? I wasn’t really sure how to respond, but then I took a step back and thought about the words. The meaning, the purpose behind them. And after giving it a lot of thought I realized, they were right. I am alive and awake, perhaps for the first time in many years. And I love it. Why would I want to feel any other way?

If you’ve ever had back pain, you’ll understand that we learn to compensate for the pain. We learn to adapt and live with it. We accept it as part of the aging process or as just a nuisance. That is until someone takes that pain away and we suddenly realize, “I feel great!” In fact, we don’t even know how bad we were feeling until we understand how good we feel now that the back pain is gone.

So, yeah, I feel alive and awake and guess what? I never want to feel any other way.

How are you feeling?

Are you feeling alive and awake in your life?

Are you doing the things that bring your joy?

If not, why not?

As I get older, I am thankful for every day. I am grateful for my blessings and do my best to add value into the world.

Right now, in this moment, give thanks to be alive. Give thanks for the people in your life who you love and are there for you. Call your parents, your kids, your bff and tell them you love them. Don’t text it. Call. Let them hear your voice. Let them know how you feel. Today. This moment. When you’re at Starbuck’s getting your morning latte, pay for the person behind you. Tell a member of the military, “thank you for your service.” Make up with someone who have been fighting with. Say you’re sorry. Own your mistakes.

We decide what to do with the time that is given to us. So don’t wait until tomorrow. Don’t wait for more time. Don’t wait.

Start living now. For time is all we’ve got.


  1. I take stock sometimes in my day but most at the end of the day. If in the middle of the day, I realize I still have sometime to met someone or call. If at the end of the day then I look back and beat myself up for not doing things I should have. Your article was great and makes me think….do more tomorrow!!

  2. Don says:

    Something about you that makes me want to know you! You are such an inspirational person and that comes from within and that comes from who you are. You know how to handle people a gift from the heart not taught or gifted you earned it! I know you work hard at what you do and what you have created in your life so far. It an honor to know you even though it’s true text only! Who knows maybe someday I’ll be lucky enough to meet you in person. Thanks, for your time in reading this. Don

  3. Cecilia samaja says:

    Thank you for sharing your articles your wisdom and caring