“Let’s cherish every moment we have been giving; the time is passing by…” ~ Kool & the Gang
Hello, My name is Henry Bins and I have Henry Bins. Lol jk That’s an inside joke to myself. ;-D
I read a fiction book called “3:00AM” about a man named Henry Bins and he has a very rare sleep disorder which was named after him because he is one of three people in the world to have it and he was the first to be diagnosed.
He says “My name is Henry Bins and I have Henry Bins!” lol
It’s like a mixture of comedy, suspense, thriller, adventure, drama, love, mystery…I guess you can say. I love it!
The disorder causes him to sleep 23 out of 24 hours a day. It’s beyond his control. He wakes up every morning at 3:00am then just drops wherever he is at 4:00am and goes to sleep.
He had this disorder his whole life. It’s no walk in the park for him but he learned to live with it. He learned to adjust and cherish every moment he has awake.
His mom left him and his dad when he was a child and his dad brought him up and loves him unconditionally. He always wanted Henry to be as normal as possible and he made sure he was educated and well socialized. He would teach him reading and writing and he would bring children to their house at 3:00 am to play with Henry. Henry is about 36 years old in the novel, I think, and he’s as “normal” as can be.
He uses the Internet and goes out running and listens to music. But every single minute, literally, has to be planned out so he can get the most out of his life and be home safely in bed before he drops.
It’s also a murder mystery, this book. One morning just before 4:00 he was in his bedroom and he heard a woman scream like she was being murdered. Because she was being murdered.
They live near Washington D.C.
He looked out his window at her house across the street and saw Connor Sullivan, 44th president of the United States, walking out and the president looked up and saw Henry! Then Henry dropped to the floor asleep. And woke up all stiff and injured. He doesn’t drift off to sleep around 4:00am, he will literally drop and sleep with absolutely no control. He already ended up in an emergency room occasionally because of dropping to sleep and being injured when he was out places too late.
He learned to make sure he’s in bed right before 4:00am.
There’s no known cure for this (fictional) disorder.
Because of knowing his time is limited, he carefully plans to make the most of literally every single minute he’s awake. He is mindful of all the ways he can have fun, of all the beauty around him. He cherishes each and every moment he’s awake. He knows at 4:00am he will be asleep until the next day. He had a few girlfriends at different points but it never worked out because they couldn’t handle his disorder. He says the only thing worse than being or having Henry Bins is being in love with Henry Bins.
He plays video games, listens to music, runs for fun, reads books, checks out online dating websites, plays cards with his dad, has a stock business, a cat, and is generally happy. He pretty much has a full life. He sometimes wonders what it would be like if he did not have this disorder. He wonders if he would be married with kids but he knows he can’t be wasting minutes sulking or wondering “what if…???”
“I force myself to stay in the moment. I don’t have time for the past or the future. My life is the present. For many years I played the what if game. What if I had a normal life? Where would I be? Would I be married? Would I have kids? But then twenty or thirty minutes would be gone. Wasted. Thinking about things that I can’t change. That are unchangeable.”
See how this can apply to most of us to some extent? Who doesn’t at least once think “What if….?” We may think what if we were different or our lives were somehow different…what if we made a different choice, weren’t struggling with things beyond our control, looked different, were married or married to someone else, chose to go to school instead of certain jobs, did not have to put up with certain people, had more money…..
But all we have is now and what we currently are. It’s good to work to better ourselves but not fret or obsess over what we can’t change, what could have or should have been, or negatively compare our lives to others.
He doesn’t have much but what he does have is enough. He has one hour each day and he knows how to make the most of it.
Henry wakes up and he says, about the green numbers on his electronic clock,
“The glowing green embers also tell me it’s 3:01am.
One minute gone.”
Three minutes later after going online and checking his accounts, he says:
Four minutes gone.”
There is a profound revelation here.
“One minute gone.”
“Two minutes gone.”
“Three minutes gone…”
(he doesn’t count down like this throughout the entire book – that may be kind of annoying lol)
Henry, because of his disorder, only has a limited amount of time so he knows not to waste any of it at all.
Every single moment is important and worthy of being embraced.
For every minute he must decide what he wants to do that minute, what is worth it. Does he want to read, listen to a song, play a video game, masturbate(lol he decides that at this moment it isn’t worth it)…? Each minute he does something he doesn’t really care to do is a minute wasted, a minute he can never have back.
But guess what?! It’s not because of his sleep disorder that he only has a limited amount of time! This is true for all of us! His case is just more dramatic than most of ours but none of us has an unlimited supply of minutes awake!
One day, just like Henry Bins, we will drop except we won’t get back up again.
Henry was forced to realize this because of his condition. We are not usually forced by life circumstances to realize this to the depth that Henry is. Some people diagnosed with terminal illnesses or ones who have a near death experience see this much more deeply than probably the average person.
In some ways, his disorder allows him to even live more fully than a person without a disorder like this. What we may see as life hindering actually sets him free. To live more deeply, more completely, more sweetly than the rest.
“…I spend a perfect minute watching a trawler sucked downstream by the sweeping black current. I used to wonder what it would look like during the light of day, how the water would look under a burning sun and puffy white clouds, but day didn’t exist in my world. Only night. Only darkness.”
I love this statement for a couple of reasons. It shows how much many people take for granted. The simple beauty we too often overlook. The beauty of day and night. It shows us how we have access to mundane things we overlook everyday that some people long to have and never do. Like daylight. Some people are always in the dark.
The next morning you wake up to the light of day, look around you and pretend you are Henry Bins finally seeing the light of day. Look with new eyes like you have never seen beauty in the sun. Isn’t it lovely?
This statement also shows acceptance. He can’t have day where he lives in his position and he just cherishes what he does have.
He knows it’s not wise to spend his moments being concerned over stuff he can’t do much about currently.
“The corpse of the woman continuously creeps into my thoughts as I run, but each time I am able to ward it off with a tight squeeze of my eyes and a gaze up at the starry sky. This is my time. Not hers.”
Sometimes we have to practice self-care and not put too much time and energy into other people’s problems and stuff we can’t change. This is especially poignant when we realize our time is limited. I think we all, or most of us, grow up with the knowledge we won’t be around forever. But knowing and realizing/feeling it are two different concepts. Once we feel it to a certain depth, we may be more motivated to change our ways to live in the present moment mindfully, with gratitude.
Since Henry’s time is especially limited, he checks his cell phone a lot for the minute. He has to so he can get back home safely and plan out how much of each thing he would like to engage in.
Since he lives near a murder scene, he is questioned by detectives.
The one detective wonders why he almost constantly checks his phone. She says,
“What’s one minute to the next at three in the morning?”
Henry is infuriated.
This detective does not know of Henry’s condition and he doesn’t care to explain it to her.
Also, he made a big mistake and he does have something to hide.
He says to the reader,
“Those minutes are my life, I nearly scream. Those minutes that you take so much for granted because you get a thousand of them each day are priceless to me. Your life is measured by title, wealth, and status. My life is measured in grains of sand, trickling from one teardrop to the other.
My nostrils flare when I’m angry and I wonder if Ray feels a small gust of wind. Taking a calm breath, I ponder telling her that I’m Henry Bins and I have Henry Bins. I don’t.”
(Ingrid Ray is the homicide detective – it’s cute because Henry and her have a little crush on each other! Lol)
At one point Henry says,
“It’s like Christmas, each minute a beautifully wrapped gift just waiting to be opened. Should I allow myself an extra minute in the shower? Could I read three more pages of my book? Run another quarter mile? Watch a YouTube video? Watch the swimming pool scene from Wild Things, twice?”
Isn’t this beautiful? Each minute of his life is a beautiful gift. Each minute itself. Every minute to him is full of wonder and possibility. If only we would all think this way quite often!
After reading this novel I noticed a change in me even without trying. I came to have an even deeper appreciation for my minutes and became even more mindful after just reading this book once. Then I began to apply the concept consciously and intentionally even more than I used to, the concept that each minute is a gift. A perfect gift. A minute is brief, fleeting. But it’s something. And every minute matters.
Have you ever wasted minutes? I sure have. Have you ever waited for a bus or train and just keep anxiously looking up the street as if it will make it appear or keep looking at your watch? Or keep thinking where in the hell is this bus or train? Or have you ever waited somewhere for someone to pick you up to go somewhere and when it’s nearing the hour the person should be coming for you, you don’t just sit and be peaceful, instead you feel like just getting it over with and like there’s no point in starting anything like reading or watching a movie or anything because you will be leaving soon, in just a matter of minutes?
But even five minutes is enough to be some kind of productive. One minute is. You can read a few pages of a book, meditate, write in a journal, a draft for a blog post… If you’re waiting for a bus I don’t think I would recommend deep meditation or maybe not reading and definitely not listening to music with earphones. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings for safety purposes. I do read and listen to music while out and about, occasionally, but I don’t recommend it to others. But you can take in the scene around you or think more productive thoughts than “when is this bus coming?!” or “let’s get this over with!!!”
Those few minutes are minutes that will be lost forever. Let us cherish them completely.
I try not to waste any minute now. The thing that really got this concept to sink in is in the beginning with the “one minute gone…two minutes gone…” That’s so true. For all of us.
I’m not Henry Bins and I don’t have Henry Bins. Lol
But just like Henry Bins, I do not have a limitless supply of minutes. I can fall asleep at 4:00am and never wake up.
It’s not likely but not impossible. I’m sure I will live to be old, old, old and hopefully indefinite life extension will be a reality and we will all live much longer. But we all have something in common with Henry Bins.
Each minute is a gift.
I was careful not to give away any big spoilers. This is a murder mystery but with a deeper message. I strongly recommend it.
I made it seem really cheesy and sappy here(I’m really into cheese and sap…) but it’s really not. The sappiness is all mine. Lol It’s a fascinating work of fiction both about a murder mystery and a very rare (fictional) disorder and how the man copes and lives with it. But it also has this deeper message.
This reminds of of a teacher I had in high school, Dr. Zhender. He always told us in every class that no amount of time is too short.
We can learn something of value in just a few short minutes. At the end of class instead of letting us talk or stand by the door, he would make us sit and watch part of a movie for the last five or ten minutes insisting that we never waste a minute.
And it reminds me of a professor I had in college for Sociology. Professor Grasmuck. She did the same exact thing. In college when we have an exam we can leave whenever we turn our paper in and when class ends early we often are allowed to leave. If it only takes us ten minutes to complete an exam, we can leave or if a lecture ends early, but never in her class. She made us sit there and told us to read or something or listen to her music. At the end of every class she made us listen to music saying it would do us good. If a student tried to walk out, she would yell “sit back down now!” as if we were children! Lol But I liked it; to me it seemed like an act of caring and I missed high school when we were under the authority of the teachers. In college that’s not how it is. Professor Grasmuck was always very sweet and friendly, very caring and passionate. I have always loved that about her, how moved she would be over the stuff she was teaching us, she really feels it. She was always deeply touched over injustices and the misfortunes of others and how they would help each other. She just did not want any time wasted in her class. She wanted us to learn and take in all the music and information we could in her class. Every minute counted. Every minute counts.
Dr. Z, Henry Bins, & Professor Grasmuck know that every minute is a gift and a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow and cherish.
This is a great lesson to us all!