What Are Doing With The Dash Of Your Life?

by Sherry Riter in Lessons of Life,Self-Development  

the dash between the dates gravestone 

“It isn’t the date on either end that counts,
but how they used their dash
for that dash between the dates
represents all the time
they spent alive on earth
and now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.”

As the sun set, I took a leisurely walk through the graveyard thinking about life, death and everything in between…the dash of our life. It was so quiet that I could hear my own heart beat as I became very aware that all these people once walked, talked, laughed, cried, worked and loved just like me.

Most of the epitaphs were simply the family names while others stated things such as:

  • Mother
  • Beloved Husband
  • We will miss you…
  • Mutual love, the crown of all our bliss.
  • Sleep on now, and take your rest.
  • The world is a far lesser place without you in it.

I thought about what a waste of time and emotion it is to be aggravated because I have to wait in line to pay for my groceries, feeling impatient sitting at a stop light, being angry or holding a grudge. In the whole scheme of life, those things rob me of great opportunities in my “dash” of life.

The Dash Of Your Life

The dash that is located on a gravestone between the date of birth and the date of death is a powerful little line. It can represent a day or one hundred years. Regardless of the length of time it represents, the dash shouts, “I lived here! Don’t forget me!”

If you’re like me, when you start a week long vacation or even a weekend, it seems that you have SO MUCH time ahead. Then as the end of the vacation or weekend draws near, the time just seems to speed by at a phenomenal rate. Of course, I always run out of time to do all the things I wanted to accomplish or enjoy.

The same thing happens with the dash.

While we are young children, days last f.o.r.e.v.e.r.

When we are in our twenties, “old” is fifty and nothing seems impossible.

By the time we get to fifty, time is speeding by rapidly. I often find myself trying to grab a moment for just a little longer. For instance, when Alyssa left to go on a date last night and hugged me goodbye, I held her twice as long as usual. I could smell her clean hair, the soft scent of her perfume, the warmth of her tiny body and I could feel the love she had for me. I did the same thing when I hugged my mother last week. I cherished the moment and stalled the dash in my life.

The moments in life that are most positively memorable and cause me to feel the most happy are those that are filled with an abundance of love and belonging. The secret of life is really no secret at all. Love is the most public secret known to man.

“A dash filled with moments of love
and people to reciprocate love
is the happiest dash of all.”
~ Sherry Riter ~

Who you spend your dash with determines a lot of how you live during your life and your level of happiness. Hopefully you have surrounded yourself with people who love you and add value to your existence.

You only get one dash, so be selective with whom you spend it with and what you do with it. Seize every moment as if it were your last and drink in the sweetness of life. Make sure you live your dash so fully that it still be shouting love long after you’ve gone to rest.

It isn’t just a line…It’s your life.

graveyard sunset in fall syria virginia

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joan May 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm

What a thought provoking post! It got me to wondering how many people really do spend the dash of their life doing the things they love and dreamed about doing in their lifetime?


2 Sherry Riter May 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Thank you so much Joan! I really wonder that too.


3 Young Werther May 5, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Yup, it’s not the quantity but quality. How quickly time passes, blink it’s Christmas and New Year… blink another year older..


4 Sherry Riter May 5, 2013 at 11:26 pm

It does go by so fast – just like a blink. I can’t believe that we are fast approaching the middle of the year already!


5 teresa1944 May 6, 2013 at 2:13 am

This is the best post you have ever written. I noticed you held a long time but I was so glad I just soaked it up, lol. So proud of you.


6 Sherry Riter May 6, 2013 at 7:26 am

Thank you so much, Mom. 🙂


7 Skip_D May 6, 2013 at 5:59 am

so many people dash, rather than live… we all have spent far too much time dashing, especially in youth… such a paradox than time moves so slowly when we’re young, & we impatiently do all we can to hurry it along – as we age, it flies, & we wish for ways to slow it, or even to reverse it…

as you said, the right choices, especially of companions on our dash, can make such a difference!


8 Sherry Riter May 6, 2013 at 7:27 am

Yep. When we are young, we can’t wait to be older and when we are older, we wish to be young.

Thanks for your comment today 🙂


9 Tim King May 6, 2013 at 10:41 am

I love this post, Sherry.

I swear I’m writing a book on this topic (from a Judeo-Christian spiritual perspective). It was in part inspired by a quote from Babylon 5:

When we are born, we are allocated a finite number of seconds. Each tick of the clock slices off a piece of us. Tick. A possibility for joy is gone. Tock. A careless word ends one path, opens another. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Always running out of time. Yours is almost used up. You’re between seconds, lost in the infinite possibilities between tick and tock. Tick, you’re alive. Tock— Well, it was a good life, but a short one. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick— You’re closer now, aren’t you? Yes, I see you are. But closer to tick or closer to tock? I don’t know. Only time will tell.

I’ve titled my manuscript Walking in the Moment between Tick and Tock.



10 Sherry Riter May 6, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Thank you so much, Tim!

I LOVE the title of your book! It’s very catchy especially after reading the excerpt from Babylon 5. I’ve always enjoyed the alliteration of the words tick and tock anyway. LOL


11 Larry Baran May 11, 2013 at 11:01 am

I stumbled on the reference of ‘the Dash’ on your website and appreciate that you have provided a little context to it. Very nice. I, too, am keeping a ‘book of quotes’ although I haven’t taken the next step of making it available to others as you have. Thank you for your efforts. It is obviously appreciated.

One quote that you may already have, but I’ll share it anyway, I collected years ago:

“I am standing on the sea shore. A ship spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean. She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her till at last she fades on the horizon, and someone at my side says, ‘She is gone.’

“Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. The loss of sight is in me, not in her; and just at the moment when someone says, ‘She is gone’, there are others who are watching her coming. Other voices take up the glad shout, ‘There she comes.’

And that is dying.”

(Henry Scott Holland – Readers Digest; August 1980, pg.5)


12 Sherry Riter May 12, 2013 at 9:00 am

Thank you, Larry, for the comment. I think the Readers Digest quote is beautiful. Actually, it is a very comforting quote and one that I will definitely remember. {{{hugsss}}}


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