I’ve learned that postponing things for the perfect time or situation is wasting precious time. When we are young, we think we have all the time in the world. Later we realize that time passes so quickly we regret not doing and living the experiences when we had the chance. Don’t postpone living. Seize the moment. Seize the opportunity to live and experience what life is gifting you at every moment. Don’t save things for the right occasion. Wear your dresses.
Don’t delay gratification hoping that someday will be a better day.
That someday may not arrive. I used to collect expensive bottles of wine and keep them for 20 plus years so their value would go even higher. It was a stupid thing to do because selling them never entered my mind. Yet, I didn’t enjoy them. They accumulated dust in the wine cellar waiting for a monumental occasion worthy of such delight. I opened one for the birth of each of my girls. It’s been over a decade since I opened my last bottle of special wine.
Today I realize that every occasion to be with family is a monumental day. I recently had the opportunity to be with my boyfriend’s family celebrating his birthday and ventured on opening one such bottle, praying it would still taste like wine and not vinegar. Being the philanthropic family they are, when they realized the value and rareness of the bottle, they felt guilty opening it. “It is best to donate to a charity for a fundraiser,” they said.
While the idea was noble, I thought to myself, let me get this straight, I have put off and stored this wine for 20 plus years so that some unknown person enjoys it with their family? And we do what? We just order a cheap and ordinary bottle for our dinner? Somehow that did not appeal to me. So, with much pleasure I opened the bottle, we all signed it to commemorate my boyfriend’s special day. Thankfully, the wine still tasted fabulous.
My point is don’t save your special wine and things waiting for that perfect occasion. Make the occasion and enjoy life. Don’t save all your pennies for a rainy day. Today is all you have. While it is prudent to plan for the future, it is not prudent to overlook the present moment because all your attention is on a future day.
The worst expression people use is ONE DAY! Don’t Postpone Living.
When I look at my calendar, I never see a day called, ONE DAY. People go to their graves without accomplishing and experiencing life. They were so concerned about the future that they forgot to live for today. One never knows what awaits minute to minute. Life and time are so precious and once it passes it cannot be recovered. Every moment you waste putting off your dreams for “one day” is time you can never take back.
My late ex-father-in-law worked hard on his pharmacy business. He was successful and often spoke to me about the value of hard work and investing in the future. Those were wonderful lessons, but in retrospect, he could have taken more time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
My ex-mother-in-law, loved to travel and although they traveled a fair bit, they always planned on one day doing so much more and for longer periods. He was looking forward to taking more time to take it easy and not being tied down by work so that he could spend even more time with family and friends. Given his financial stake and role in the business, I suspect it was difficult for him to let go of the day-to-day. I totally understand this being a business owner myself. No one can do it as well as you!
As time passed, he would tell his wife that soon, after selling the business they would travel for a longer time and not have the stress of being on a schedule. He always worked hard and stressed hard. He became consumed by the logistics that often come with the massive endeavor of selling his lifelong business while looking forward to that future day. When the sale closed, and retirement became possible and he could finally enjoy the fruit of his labor, for him, that future day never came.
At the height of this life, when he had sold his business for millions and he could have rested and put the stress of running and growing the business aside, he passed away from prostate cancer. By no means am I saying my late ex-father-in-law didn’t enjoy life because he did and made sure he was a present in all our major life events.
But due to his big responsibility, he pushed off things he could have done waiting for that perfect time to be free of less responsibility. There are many lessons I learned from him. I thank him for instilling in me a huge sense of responsibility and drive to succeed. He was a great role model for that. But I also thank him for teaching me to not stress so much and to enjoy all I can today and not in some future time because there are no guarantees I will get to live to see that future day. I am conscious that I live on borrowed time and each day can be revoked.
When all this was happening and my ex-father-in-law was already very sick. He asked the family to go to Aruba, his favorite place to spend quality time. Everyone went, except for me and my family. Not going on the family trip is a regret my ex-husband carries with him. It was at a crazy busy time for us in our business and we had a few conferences to attend. My ex-husband declined but told his father that later in the year we could plan a trip to Disney, just us, so he could spend quality time with our daughter, Victoria, whom he adored. We never got to take that trip to Disney. My ex-husband to this day says, “I don’t even remember what was so urgent or important. I don’t know what meetings I could have had or activities that were so important to have me miss such an opportunity to spend time with my father before he died.” Postponing things for a later day robbed my ex-husband of making lasting memories with his father and robbed him of precious time with his granddaughter. I am sure if we could take time back, we would have made a very different choice. Perhaps you still can!
Don’t Wait to Seize Life
Many wait to seize life for their golden years. They look forward to retirement to finally enjoy life to the fullest. But one never knows what the future holds. For one, the golden years are not what one expects. I find it so ironic that when we are in our 30s and 40s working towards to that future day we think about our golden years with great anticipation. Yet when they come, many realize they are not what they had hoped it would be. For many, those dreams don’t pan out as they planned.
People wait far too long to really enjoy and then illnesses come, physical stamina reduces, and now it’s too late to climb that mountain, too late to take the world cruise, or scuba dive with sea turtles and so much more. The best way to live is to assume that today could be your last and so if you knew that all you had was today, how would you live it? How would you spend it? What would you do? What would you say to those you love?
My advice is to consider that your golden years are now. Each day you wake is a golden day. Each year of life is a golden year, and you must live it as such. Do all you can to take time out for self-care and to enjoy life. When people are on their deathbed, nobody talks about their regret for not working more. No. They regret not having taken more time out to smell the roses, to spend more time with family, and not stress so much about things that truly don’t matter.
Take time to enjoy life while you work to build a future but never at the expense of today.
This is why I love Dolly Parton’s saying, “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
When I was in my 30’s and 40’s I worked sometimes sixteen-hour days building the business. I left home when it was dark and returned home when it was dark. This was our life for my former husband and I for 13 years. The days were long and nights for him even longer. We lost friends in the process that couldn’t understand why we couldn’t join them or why we were often late coming to things due to the high demands of running a high-tech service company that was operational 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year. We were not enjoying life, because work had become our life. We would often complain that my late ex-father-in-law would come home late for dinner and when we started our business, we were coming home even later than he did.
Today I would have done it differently. I would have hired more help or trusted more and taken time to enjoy life. I learned a valuable lesson from the successful people in our family. Today I continue to work hard and live my passion because I love what I do. But as soon as my kids walk into the door, my working day ends and it does not matter what is left undone, they become my focus and my happy place. With my partner, I make sure we spend time, quality time, together and take time to see the world. It is easy to fall into the trap of work especially for two people who love what they do as for us it doesn’t feel like work. Nonetheless, I am disciplined and regimented about our time apart and together to connect.
So, don’t postpone the things you can do today for one day. Hopefully, you’ll have all the time in the world and health to enjoy for many later years to come. So, you have no regrets, live for today and enjoy your every sandwich!
with gratitude Waleuska Lazo
The blog is from a lesson of my upcoming book, Braving the Storm.
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