I am writing this post to implore you, my friends, to not postpone your lives any longer, for we have no promises about tomorrow. “If I miss the ordinary—waiting for the special, the extreme, the extraordinary to happen—I may just miss my life,” writes author Dani Shapiro in Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life. Or, as John Lennon reportedly said, “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”
And as poet Robert Hastings wrote in The Station, “‘Relish the moment’ is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. Rather, it is regret over yesterday or fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.” I don’t know about you but I am not allowing either thief to steal my life from me.
I’ve owned a red convertible, lived at a lighthouse, and traveled to Africa. I’ve loved one woman my entire adult life and she has returned the favor. I call, email, and text people I care about and communicate it to them while it counts. In other words, I aim to live life so that when it ends I am able to die without regrets. I have lost one of my parents and both of my wife’s parents in the last few years and it has reinforced my core conviction of loving people while I can.
And when Linda and I live someplace we intentionally enjoy living there by thoroughly experiencing the area so that when it comes time to leave, we never regret not having done so. As with the rest of our lives, we strive to realize the potential of a time and place instead of merely daydreaming about it. While others wonder about places, we wander to experience them. We frequently hear from local friends that we share sites with them they had not even experienced.
We’ve been blessed to live in some of the most desirable places in all of America, including Orlando, Tulsa, Savannah, Nashville, and New England. But it was not due to job transfers; we moved to each without jobs because we wanted to live in such places. And we have done it all on a shoestring budget, I might add. So, forgive me if I wince as others whine about not being able to pursue their dreams. We all do what we want to every day; it is simply a matter of willingness.
I hope this post does not come off preachy as much as it is a passionate plea to wake up from your daydreams and “seize the day,” as the saying goes. None of us are guaranteed another day. I’ve arrived alive at 55 but I have friends who have suffered debilitating illnesses or even died young and it always reminds me to cherish each blessed day I have been given. So, I pray that each of us is mindful of our once-in-a-lifetime chance to cherish this simple, extraordinary life.