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Don’t waste your life waiting

Register • Jul 2, 2014 at 7:40 PM

Imagine you win the Lottery. I don’t mean $20 on a scratch-off ticket. I mean BIG money, say $50 million or so.

What’s the first thing most anyone would want to know?: How soon do I get my money??

Let’s say you find out that after all the legal mumbo-jumbo is taken care of, you can claim your prize in three weeks.

Those might be the slowest three weeks of your life. You’d be counting down the days, all day, every day, until your huge payday arrived. You would daydream of what you might do with all that money and wish that time would pass faster.

Those three weeks until you collected your loot would eventually feel like something to get over with as fast as possible. You might go to bed earlier and sleep in a bit longer to shorten the days.

It’s much the same when you’re a kid. I remember my parents driving us to Cedar Point from our house in Lyndhurst, nearly a three-and-a-half-hour ride back in the mid-’60s. It probably seemed a lot longer for my parents, who had to endure my “Are we almost there?” for most of the way.

There was plenty to see on the way to the park, but I didn’t notice any of it. All I noticed was how long it was taking.

If I got wind of a planned trip to someplace I wanted to go, my excitement would build until I could barely wait until we left. How would I survive TWO MORE WEEKS until I could go on the rides?? The days dragged.

I’d go outside to play but my heart wasn’t in it. It was no fun. All I wanted was for the day to be over, and then the next, and the next, and so on until it was finally time to go to Cedar Point.

One time I counted down an entire two weeks to the day we were supposed to go to Conneaut Lake Park in Pennsylvania. But when the big day finally arrived, it came with day-long thunderstorms. The trip was postponed, and I had to wait another week.

That was another big waste of time I needed to get through so I could have fun.

It never occurred to me that I could have had fun those three weeks AND gone to the amusement park. It never occurred to me that one day I might wish I had back those three weeks I’d so thoroughly wasted, so I could do something better with them.

One of my favorite bands is a group named dada, who in a song called “Time Is Your Friend” sing, “I’m wasting so much of my life, waiting for tomorrow”

We all do it: Today looks like nothing special, but next weekend we’re going out for dinner and a show. Can’t wait. Wish that day was today.

You know that when that day finally arrives, you’ll be happy for a while. So the hell with today.

The problem with waiting for tomorrow is the old saying: Tomorrow never comes. And in the meantime you’re wasting today.

When we’re looking forward to something, too often we’ll focus on how happy we’ll be when that moment comes.

Until then, we forget to make the most of our time due to anticipation of the future — which is always uncertain, and which may never even arrive in the way we envision. We could be ill, or even die. An event could be cancelled. The car may break down. There are thousand things that could happen, and maybe the day that we’d so eagerly awaited would turn out to be a colossal disappointment. 

And then what?

What about all those days shrugged aside as not worth living to the fullest because they weren’t THE day we were waiting for? We only have so much time on this earth. Each day is a gift. It’s a shame to tear off the wrappings and throw it aside because the next gift might be better. It’s a shame to waste even one day, let alone dozens, waiting for another day that’s not even guaranteed.

“I’m wasting so much of my life, waiting for tomorrow” If you are, you need to ask yourself why.

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