How much time?

On Iron Chef America, it’s a question you’ll hear often during the course of the hour-long program.

How much time?

Time left to chop. To dice. To grill, to boil, to mix, to puree.

Time left to render, to reduce, to marinate.

Time left to build, to create, to craft.

There’s a steady pulse and constant drive in Kitchen Stadium, because the end point is known. The delivery is expected. The quality is assumed.

Five courses in 60 minutes. They do it for the challenge, for fun and for entertainment. But we do it usually without even realizing it. What are our courses?

Unlike the Iron Chef and the challenger on the show who are acutely aware of the end point, we take things day by day and procrastinate here and there. We hem, we haw, we postpone, we wait.

We know there’s an end point, but it’s generally not 60 minutes away.

We know we need to deliver something, but it doesn’t have to be five courses and we won’t face any penalty or similar loss at the end.

Or will we? It feels like we all have dreams. Sometimes people live them out and fulfill them. Others spend a life working towards them, and while they may never reach the pinnacle, they relish the journey and take pride in their effort. Still others may remember having their own dreams, but over time they’ve been shelved, tabled or discarded for various reasons. In this case, the penalty may only come in the form of looking back over one’s life with a bit of disappointment, or it may be greater than that. Perhaps it’s sadness that there wasn’t more time, or that the time wasn’t spent better. None of us knows how much time we have, but hopefully we’re all always in the process of delivering a course or five. Tonight I am thankful for the reminder given to me by that simple line repeatedly called out on Iron Chef America. To live each day is not enough, but to try, to do, to create and to hopefully deliver is my goal.

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