Saturday, September 29, 2007

Live

Live, as in live your life to its fullest every day. You never know what kind of curve ball life is going to throw. I remember years and years ago hearing my parents talking about some older friends of theirs. This couple had everything planned out. They scrimped and saved so they could live their dream when they retired. They saved every spare penny in order to buy one of those big motor homes. They planned the trips they would take and managed their money so they could live their perfect life. Nothing wrong with having a dream, but “today” didn’t exist for this couple. It was all about the day they retired.

I know you’re expecting to read that one of them died, or one came down with a debilitating illness. Nope, nothing that tragic. But the gas shortage did hit. They couldn’t afford, or find, enough gas to fuel their dream. I don’t know if they ever did get to go tooling around the country as they’d planned. I know they were pretty miserable for at least that period of time.

That conversation I overheard stuck with me. It sparked many thoughts about the balance that’s needed in life to live today fully yet plan for a future. Yes, it’s important to plan for the future ‘cause hopefully you’ll have one. But life doesn’t always let you live out your plans.

I could tell tale after tale of people who were hit with the unexpected. Some were living their life to the fullest and while they may have had some regrets when life dumped on them, they generally accepted the rock thrown through the window of their plans. Others had focused completely on their future leaving behind a long line of “if only’s”.

I remember the young woman I met at a concert whose goal throughout her 30 year life was to be married. She finally found Mr. Right after years and years of searching only to find out within weeks of being married that she had an inoperable brain tumor and had less than six months to live. How much life slipped by her as she focused on a future that had to include a husband? Who knows, we didn’t get that far into her life.

I know way too many people who lived their life for retirement only to die within a few months or come down with some catastrophic illness that sapped their savings or otherwise prevented the attainment of their dream.

It’s important to find the right balance and oft times it’s impossible to find the right balance.

I’ve learned that it’s more important to spend a day with the kids than to update a website. Sure I want to accomplish things. However, when everyone is standing around my coffin someday I seriously doubt they’ll be remembering the times I completed a video or finished a work product… unless it kept me from doing something with them. I don’t want to be remembered for the things I missed.

Likewise, when I’m on my deathbed (yes, the blog has taken on a rather morbid tone hasn’t it?) I doubt I’ll be regretting an unfinished load of clothes that didn’t get washed or a yard that wasn’t mowed or a garage that wasn’t swept or the television program unwatched. Nope, if I’m regretting anything it’ll be the times I didn’t spend with my family and friends.

Again, balance. You have to pay the bills, you have to keep a clean house and neat yard… but not at the expense of a life with real meaning. Life is short and it gets shorter as you’re getting older and looking back on the life you’ve lived.

The older I get the more I realize how fleeting life truly is. Planning ahead is still important to me, but more and more I see just how important it is to build good memories, too. Memories are built on todays, not on tomorrows.

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