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‘There is No Time for Anything Inessential’

Oliver Sacks’ deeply moving essay about having terminal cancer

Sara Ivry
February 19, 2015


Here’s where I cried in Oliver Sacks’s New York Times essay about learning he has terminal cancer: “I still care deeply about the Middle East, about global warming, about growing inequality, but these are no longer my business; they belong to the future. I rejoice when I meet gifted young people—even the one who biopsied and diagnosed my metastases. I feel the future is in good hands.”

He gives us a gift—a perspective that we’d be wise to co-opt, or at least be made to recall daily. No matter how long, your time may feel short. Spend your days on what is essential to you. And if reading is part of that mandate—make Sacks’ essay (and his books, too, for that matter), part of your life now.

Sara Ivry is the host of Vox Tablet, Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast. Follow her on Twitter@saraivry.

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