Even if I had read this years ago, when I was in junior high, I wouldn’t have been smart enough to heed the wisdom of it.
I’ve spent most of my life waiting. When I was in junior high (14 years old) I met my husband-to-be just before he joined the Marine Corps. I waited for a letter each day. I would watch out the window for the mailman. He knew I was in love – and was a wonderful guy – so he would break the rules and put the red flag on the mailbox up if there were a letter from him for me. He would grin ear to ear as I came flying out of the house, running down the driveway to get the mail.
I waited for my husband-to-be to get leave from the Marines, when I could start to live again. We were inseparable, of course, watched carefully by both sets of parents, until he had to leave again. I remember one leaving-taking in particular, when my mother-in-law-to-be allowed me to ride to the airport with them and see him off. I cried my heart out, nose against the glass as his plane went down the runway.
When he got out of the Marine Corps, I went to Oklahoma State University. He went to the University of Tulsa, so I waited for weekends and holidays. My parents said I had to finish school before we could marry. They finally compromised when a program opened up where I could do my practice teaching in Tulsa, and we were married. I waited so long to marry him that I cried on the way back down the aisle that we were finally together and I could begin to live.
I feel stupid typing this. I wasted so much of my life ignoring what was around me, focused on the next time my life ‘would start.’ How much I missed, marking days off the calendar until the next “big thing” in my life. I’ve spent a lot of my working life wishing Mondays away, waiting for Fridays. Waiting for vacations. Wishing days, weeks, months and years away.
So, even though I was too stupid to realize what I was doing, or unable or unwilling to change my behavior if I DID realize, I think living in the moment is THE most important thing I have ever learned. Better late than never. Better some than none.
NOW is what is important – the people you are lucky enough to know and love – what is happening right – this – minute.
Wring every drop of joy out of whatever you are lucky enough to have.
Appreciate your life.