Sunday, July 06, 2014

Tempus Fugit, Carpe Diem. WTF are you waiting for?

Why We Need to Seize the Day!

We Think We Have All the Time in the World to Do All the Things We'd Like... But We Don't

More than half my life is gone and I haven't done half the things I wanted to do. I'll be sixty-seven years old in the summer of 2014. Sixty-seven. I can hardly believe it. It seems like just yesterday I was a dewy-eyed twenty year old with my whole life ahead of me. Where have the last forty-plus years gone? If I made a list of the things I've done, it would seem like a lot: marriage, divorce, travel, college, etc. But it wasn't much at all. I got stuck in a rut. I worked very hard at my job but went nowhere. I thought I had all the time in the world.

Playing Catch-Up
My head is spinning with all the things I'm trying to accomplish now. I'm writing books and self-publishing because I don't want to do the agent/rejection/wait/wait/wait dance. Four books already written and more on the way.

I was learning Spanish on my computer from a CD course I bought years ago and never started until recently. Hola. Como estas? Estoy bien. Adios. It's challenging but I'm determined. I live in southern California. The Spanish speaking population is growing.

I was learning oil painting. Which colors to mix for a stormy sky. Which brushes to use for each different effect. Should I try to do realistic paintings, impressionistic or abstract? Actually, my early attempts might turn out to be abstracts. It's all art, right?

We also bought a little piece of land in the desert and built a house on it. We've lived here for a eight years now, but the work is far from done.

There's more, but this gives you some idea of how I'm desperately trying to cram a lot of living into so little time.

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda
I often ask myself why I wasted so many years doing nothing. I suppose it's a moot point. I did it, it's done, and now I'm trying to make up for it.

I look around me, to the young people who are working in my town. One young woman, a sweet girl, is so busy with manicures, pedicures and cutting hair that she hasn't even read a book since high school. Her free time is devoted to her boyfriend. I remember it well. I was the same. But will she look back, forty years from now, and wish she had done more? Experienced more? Learned more?

My nieces and nephews, their lives so filled with school and work and young adulthood; I hope they'll take the time to do the things they dream of and wish for. I hope they don't wait until their hair is turning gray and their faces are lined with the evidence of too many years gone by.

Our time on this planet if finite. Limited by frail bodies that age badly, even painfully, we're destined to spend our later years doing so much less than we'd like. We start life with hopes and plans and the mistaken notion that we have plenty of time to accomplish everything on our lists. Sadly, some of us pass from this mortal plane before seeing the first gray hair on our heads. Tragically, some leave us before they even have the opportunity to make a list of things to do.

Do It Now
Start today. Make that list and start to work on it. If you put it away, it won't get done. Do you want to learn a language? Travel to a distant land? Learn a new skill? Whatever you dream can come true if you start on it while you're still young. Partying with friends still has a place in each life, but shouldn't loom so large that it leaves no time for other things.

Don't find yourself at fifty or sixty or seventy looking back like I am now. Wishing you'd done it sooner, so that you could enjoy other things in these years. Other happy things. There's so much I still want to do. And tomorrow, something new might present itself. How will I fit it in? How will I manage? I have so little time left.

Again I say, our time here is finite. It is limited. When you pass on from here, will you ask yourself the questions? Why didn't I learn to play the piano? Why didn't I spend more time with my loved ones? Why didn't I...? You needn't ask those questions if you start now to do those things. Start now.

Find the time. And good luck to you.

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