There's a scene in "Gone With the Wind" that has had a major influence on my life.
Near the beginning of the movie is a shot of a clock outside Ashley Wilkes' plantation. On it is a plaque that reads: "Do not squander time. That is the stuff life is made of."
I turned 60 on Sept. 26. A lot has happened in that time. I grew up, got married, had children, got divorced, got married again and had grandchildren. I've mourned the deaths of my only sibling, my father, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
But, for the most part, I've lived each minute of my time to the fullest. My parents taught me to love life and make the most of it. The phrase on the clock reinforces that message.
Several years ago, the newspaper offered full-time employees the option of working four days a week instead of five. I accepted for one reason: to spend more time with my family. Though my paycheck decreased by 20 percent, the monetary loss hasn't compared to the joy I've experienced spending the extra day each week with my granddaughters, Tilleigh, 5, and Evie, 2.
The girls are growing so fast I can see differences from day to day.
Having raised four children, I'm acutely aware of how fast time flies, and I'm holding onto it as tightly as I can. I want to savor each moment I have with the girls. I want to saturate them with love, give them self-confidence and security.
I don't know what their futures hold, but I want them to know, above everything else, how much they are loved and how much they mean to me. Long after I'm gone, I want these girls to know that my love will always be with them.
Until then, I will cherish every moment we spend together. After all, I have no intention of squandering time. That is the stuff life is made of.
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...