This year has been one for the record books. I will be honest. I have run the gamut from fear, sadness, grief and anger and am now feeling more peace and just need to live my life and go forward. The one thing that has been present on my mind lately is the "afters". After reading a facebook post from someone, I got to thinking about how many times I have said, "after I retire" or "after this week is over". Yikes. What if that never happens?
I have no idea how the world will look in the next few months. I have no idea what tomorrow will even bring! Or even this afternoon. Only God knows that.
As I approach being 60, I can say that I never thought that my life would look like it does today. I had dreams and hopes that it would look a certain way, but most of it looks very different. And, that is ok. But, how many of you say things like, "After the kids grow up we will ......" or "We will be better off financially after I get a new job." Or whatever your after looks like.
My afters are many. My afters include "After I retire, we will be able to travel." "After the kids grow up, we will have more money". "After I finish this work, I will be able to enjoy taking a walk." "After I am done with all the yard work, I can relax".
These are just a few examples of some of the things I have thought about. I am always putting work, bills, and tasks ahead of doing something refreshing, or enjoyable. Why is that?
I had to think long and hard about that question, and this is my conclusion. My life was full of hard work and constant pressure for so long, I did not even realize I was doing it. And, there is nothing wrong with wanting to work hard and provide for your family, but there is something wrong with having that mindset consume you. There needs to be balance in our lives; work, refreshment, things we enjoy, being with loved ones, and life tasks.
Sure. We need to wait for certain things in our lives. I am not able to retire until I am at least 62. So, I need to wait. But, I could have had a more balanced life for those years leading up to it. What are you waiting for? Waiting until you buy a house to have a child? Waiting until you are "ready" for whatever? There are things we need to wait for. We need to wait until we have a job to purchase a home. We need to wait until we are done with college (if we are in college) to get that diploma. I get that. But, often we say "we are not ready", or "after I get a better job" or "after work settles down and I am not so stressed" before we make decisions about life moments. And then, those moments never happen because whatever it is that we were waiting for never changed.
60 years have come and gone and I realized I have lost a lot. I have lost friends who I went to school with. I have lost my parents and two babies. And, I cannot go back. I cannot go back to see them. It is too late.
So, I have concluded that with what remaining time I have left, I am going to participate in refreshing activities every day. I am not going to wait until "after I am done with something". I am going to make it a priority to do one thing every day that I have been putting off until "after".
Eliminate the afters.
Eliminate "doing it after."
Eliminate "saying it after".
Eliminate "thinking about it after".
Or do your best to balance this with refreshment and the things you want to do, say and think about "after."
If we wait
If we wait, our priorities could change.
If we wait, we might not be around to enjoy it.
If we wait, our kids will be grown.
If we wait, the world will change.
If we wait, finances might not be there.
And, so on, and so on.
We need balance. We need to be healthy. We need to enjoy the things in our lives now rather than putting them off into a future that might not be there, or might look totally different than what we imagined. This is not to say we need to forget our responsibilities and put caution to the wind. This is to say that we need to leave as little as we can for later. We might lose the best moments, the best experiences and loved ones. Today is what we have. Today is the best day of our lives. Today is here and now.
One day at a time.
Live your best life EVERY DAY. Live your best life one day at a time. Live with no "afters". Live and love and laugh today. One day at a time.