I recently stumbled upon a quote from the great Dr Greg House-Hugh Laurie. The quote reads:
“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”
I happen to find this quote shortly after I found out that one of my parents’ friends had died tragically after having a routine surgery. I thought to myself “wow, I wonder what he was waiting to do with the rest of his life. What vacations did he plan? Was there a restaurant he had wanted to try but kept putting off?” If my parents had known his fate would they have called and wished him luck for his “routine” surgery?
The fact of the matter is that many people die not knowing how loved or appreciated they are. Why? Because people took it for granted that they would always have the opportunity to let them know at a later more convenient time. People live life with the notion of certainty when in actual fact, life is completely uncertain and tomorrow is anything but guaranteed.
How many times a day do you find yourself starting a sentence with “in two years time or even in the next ten years I want to.” It is a foolish thing to think that you are guaranteed ten more years. In fact if you wake up tomorrow, that alone, is a good enough reason to be filled with gratitude.
Some might think it’s a depressing outlook on life to view it as a gift with an uncertain expiration date. I find it motivating and inspiring. I find it gives me perspective and I find it gives me appreciation for the day no matter what tedious tasks I have to do. I find it makes me appreciate my loved ones and it reminds me to let them know how appreciated they are.
So why do we wait? Why do we count on having time that was never promised to us? I don’t know that I have a definitive answer but what I do know, is that as human beings we tend to take life for granted.
Here are a few ways we can get the most out of every day:
Wake up with gratitude
Stop focusing on all the things you want and instead focus on what life has already given you-starting with the gift of another day. Instead of crawling out of bed, realize that life has gifted you another day and jump joyously out of bed ready to take on this new day.
Set an intent
You don’t just go to the baking isle in the grocery store and buy a bunch of ingredients with no recipe do you? Don’t start out your day that way either. Set an intention for the day and mentally make a list of all the things you want to accomplish that day, no not tomorrow-today.
Drink your morning tea/coffee while it’s hot.
How many times do you brew a delicious cup of coffee while rushing around during all of your morning errands? I do this too and by the time I get to drink my coffee I slurp it down mindlessly because it’s ice cold from standing waiting for me to drink it. Instead, brew your coffee and drink it while it’s hot. Enjoy the moment and use this moment as a time to reflect.
Check in with loved ones
We absolutely take it for granted that when we call or text our loved ones, we will get a response. No normal person wakes up with the thought that hopefully his or her otherwise healthy mother or father did not die during the night. I mean that would be absurd if every morning you called and when they answered you said, “thank god you are still alive!” Funny as it may seem, truth of the matter is that it is a miracle that they did wake up.
Now while I don’t recommend doing this, I do recommend a morning call or text to your loved ones, letting them know how loved they truly are and wishing them a wonderful day. My mother and I do this every morning since we are both awake at the same time.
Be present in every moment
My job requires me to multitask so sometimes I feel as though the day is one big blur. Instead of carefully focusing on one moment I’m jumping from one thing to the next. Don’t do this especially in your personal life. Enjoy each moment.
Lift those eyes and put the phone down. Be in the moment with the people you are with. If I have any regrets it would be all the moments I was captivated by my phone instead of the people I was with. I am not going to wait until tomorrow to work on this, I am going to start today. I no longer want to have the phone imprint in my palm; I will leave it in my handbag while with company.
So I say we stop this whole taking life for granted thing, and we regain our respect for life. I say we vow to become amazed with life again and I say we do whatever we had been planning to do today rather than waiting for a more perfect day. When you think about what day could be more perfect than today?