Live Your Life Now!

life nowMaybe it’s not until middle age that how short life actually is becomes a realization for you. The time, the moments that we have are fleeting. Each moment we are in, however sublime, is a moment that is lost forever except where it lives on in our memories. The children grow up much sooner than expected. Before you know it your life is halfway over and sometimes you might even find yourself in the fourth quarter. And throughout it all time marches forever forward. The lesson therefore isn’t to lament the brevity of this life or to revert your eye in sadness over the past. The idea is to do your best to live every moment of your life. Remember the past good times with fondness and anticipate the future with excited anticipation, but do not forget to live the life you have right now. Indeed, live your life now!

It is so easy, as you settle into life, to fall into various routines and habits that you employ without thinking day by day. There was once a time when you were excited about what the day might bring, but now maybe follow the established patterns of a routine day with nothing too thrilling on the horizon. It seems, in our country anyway, that so many of us are living for the weekend; that grand time when we can freely choose how we might occupy our time. But whatever happened to Monday? What, besides work, did we enjoy for the other 32 hours before the good times were upon us again? It seems we fall into these rote behaviors, absent any thinking, forever prolonging our happiness for some future time when we can truly enjoy ourselves. We fail to enjoy the now. We fail to seek happiness and fulfillment in the moments we are in. We stop being able to see the precious time we occupy right now and instead waste our existence looking back and peering ahead. I am not sure how to describe it, but it is as if we trade the now for the promise of the future. We make, as I read today, “when I” statements in reference to an imaginary future time frame when we can finally be at rest and enjoy the short life we have been given. All of us it seems are waiting for something. We are waiting for something. The new job, our life partner, our future children, our financial success, our ship to finally come in, our new house, retirement, yet all of these things do not exist now while we are waiting for them, they exist later on. So the question that begs is what are we doing with our lives in between these milestones? Where is our subject of focus in this moment we live in now? What happened to us that convinced us to perpetually defer our happiness to the future? Who convinced us that our enjoyment of life was restricted to certain significant events and that the entire rest of the time was to be lived in the doldrums of everyday existence? Indeed, who talked us out of living the life that is right now?

Suddenly it dawns on you that the time to live is now. Your mother is getting older and won’t, if the Lord tarries, be around forever. Your children grow up and though the incredibly fond times of raising them is over, they are still there for you to spend time loving and enjoying. Even your grandchildren refuse to remain little children and soon enough they too become an older version of that little person you loved so much and still need your love today. Yet the sheer routine of life minimizes your visits, talks you out of your interactions and steals away joy you were meant to continue experiencing today. Time marches forward. Your enjoyment of life doesn’t need to become unable to keep pace. Why would we need the thought of losing the people we love so dearly to prompt us into action? The time for giving love and sharing love is now. The same holds true for the things we enjoy in life. Do your favorite hobby as often as you can. Eat the cookie, for God’s sake and stop trying to be the distorted media version of yourself. If you are creative and have ideas, do your ideas now. Pursue your interests now. If you are blessed enough to find something that makes your eyes light up, make your eyes light up as often as you can. The time is short. Life is short. Your opportunity to dig deep into this great life of endless possibility is short. Do now what you will wish you would have done earlier once you are older. Write the book. Start the business. Share of your abundance. Help somebody else. Do it now.

It seems we spend far too much time analyzing life and not enough time living it. We carry this false set of rules forever threatening us with the prospect of too much and slow down. We can’t do such and such on a weeknight. We have to be careful not to have too much fun. It is as if every enjoyment comes with a secret curtailer whose job it is to make sure we don’t have too much pleasure; too much enjoyment. And, while every enjoyment has its limitations, we all seem to succumb to the argument before we even get started. Before you know it, everything you like becomes wrong and to be avoided in favor of the drab, the monotonous, the routine. Who taught us to live this way? You and I have a finite number of breaths on this earth and one day we will find ourselves at the end of it. Why not choose instead to live life now? Why not pursue the things that make us happy today? Why not savor the moments we are in and not take them for granted? Enjoy your job. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your spouse. Enjoy the little things that all add up to the big thing we call life. Live life, your life, now!

It does not matter where you are in your journey. What matters is that you take advantage of every second you have been blessed to live. Enjoy your successes. Enjoy the learning you gained from your failures. Enjoy this whole experience of life, the ups and the downs because every day is a brand new day to live and to discover and to thrive. Make the most of the time you have on this earth and thank God for it. For that is your portion under the sun. Live your life now!

Just some good thoughts…


Love… Why Don’t We Express it?

I had a great conversation with my grown son Joshua (Yoshie) this weekend. We talked about how people, especially people that are close to one another have such a hard time expressing their love, or for that matter expressing all types of good things they probably should be saying. What is about being kind and tenderhearted that causes us to take pause instead of moving forward? Why would we wait until people are sick or dying before we endeavor to communicate years of wonderful feelings we haven’t ever shared, or at least haven’t shared with any meaningful consistency? Why would your love for someone be left unspoken?

I remember some years ago adapting a Dale Carnegie principle regarding building people up, to my immediate family. I called it, “I love you because…” The object of my little experiment was to make an opportunity for our family to say things to one another we may have never said before. Basically, each of us wrote on a 3 x 5 card the family member’s name with the phrase, “I love you because…” to be filled in with some meaningful reason we loved that particular person. We chose one person to be the receiver of our words and went around the table expressing why we loved that specific family member. Then, each person expressed verbally why they loved their sister or mother etc. Once each person had shared to the family member, we moved on to the next receiver. Little did I know at the time, there would be such heartfelt emotion behind those words. Between the wine and the words there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. We didn’t just shed a teardrop here and there, but took part in some full on crying in our deeply felt love for one another. In that moment, between tears, I realized something profound. We all loved each other so much, but rarely felt permission to openly share those feelings. The love was always there and the tears weren’t sad tears at all, but we simply rarely said things like that to each other. Thank God we did it! (And for being the biggest part behind that little idea.)

So, if we feel it so strongly, why won’t we say it? Is it because it makes us feel vulnerable? Do we fear it won’t be reciprocated, ridiculed or made fun of in some fashion? All of us had a different upbringing. All of our parents had their own upbringing as well. In some homes, expressions of love flowed freely like water. In other homes those words were hard to come by. But, if those words were rare, it’s hardly fair to blame your parents. Chances are those words were scarce in their homes as well. Imagine trying to feel comfortable expressing your love for someone if hardly anyone ever expressed those words to you. It’s such a conundrum because though not expressed, we know that the love is there. So, we wait for some dire situation to force us into saying the things we haven’t said before. It’s like there is no time left to wait. But, here’s a thought. The people you love so much need to hear those words now, and later, and often in-between. You cannot really lose by saying those things. Even if the person you love makes fun of your heartfelt notion, inside in their heart, underneath all of that cover and pretend toughness, they needed to hear it from you, right when you said it! Just say it!

It’s so odd that in the world today, feelings of tenderness and kindness and love are shunned as if they represent weakness or perhaps aren’t manly or appropriate. It’s like to be a man you need to withhold your love in favor of toughness as a sort of preparation for the things your offspring (namely boys) might experience in the world. I can assure you, the best way to build someone up to face the challenges of life is with your love. You want your son to be strong? Shower him with love and acceptance. Ironically, few people have any trouble expressing their love to young children. Young children are safe recipients of our love. But, what about being a teenager or young adult negates that principle? Your 30 year old daughter needs that expression of love as much, if not more now, than when she was 5. We all need it desperately. Your brother you grew up with, who drove you absolutely nuts, needs your expressions of love. Your father who didn’t treat you right (God bless him as he was trying to figure it out also) needs your heartfelt expressions of love. Don’t wait until they deserve it, do it while they don’t deserve it. Do it now.

The only way to break the negative cycle is for you to break it. It really doesn’t matter if you receive it first. You be the first to break the cycle. Shower people with your love and kindness of heart. Have you ever ran into a truly kind person and left the better for it? You know what it did for you, right? So, you do it. Tell your wife you have being quietly residing beside for 30 years, how you feel. Tell her she is beautiful. Tell her what living with her has done for you over the years and the better person you are as a result of it. Tell her! Yes, I know she knows, but you tell her anyway! Your friend who always has your back and stands with you despite all your bullshit, tell them as well. It’s not weird or out of place. It’s weird not to tell them. You see, you and I have to be the initiators of the love. Take the first step. Don’t make it odd or difficult or risky. There is no risk in loving someone. The risk is found by not saying what you feel when you feel it. That’s the real tragedy.

Don’t love in silence even though you both know the feelings are there. Love outloud! Say it, express it, do it. I love you because…

Just some good thoughts…