Not even a month had gone by before he passed away. He put in 32 years of hard work. There was a retirement party, 27 days off, and he stepped out of this world.
I stood there in stunned silence staring at the floor. 32 years. He didn’t get his retirement. He didn’t get the camping and fishing trips. He didn’t get the extra time with his family and friends. He didn’t get the golden years.
I changed that day. I realized there is no guarantee that I would grow old. It would be wise to still plan for the future, but that I needed to live and enjoy life today.
I didn’t sit down that day and make a list of how I was going to enjoy life in the present, but reflecting back tonight, I came up with seven areas of focus.
7. Travel. Make a list of the places you want to visit. Figure out how much it’s going to cost to make the trip happen. Then start saving a wise percentage of your income towards the trip. Make it happen. Don’t wait. Bring someone you love with you as well. It’s a self-inflicted cruelty to experience some of the wonders of this world by yourself.
6. Take up a hobby. If you live near a warm ocean, you better start surfing, bodyboarding, stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling or ocean swimming or I’ll jump through this computer! No ocean? Then start skiing or snowboarding. No mountains? Then start running, walking, biking, kayaking or canoeing. This is a breathtakingly beautiful world. Enjoy it.
5. Make time for those in need. Have you overcome something that you battled for years? Seriously, awesome. Just don’t forget there are a thousand other people all around you that are still struggling. We can all remember someone that invested time into us, and changed us forever. Be that person for someone else.
4. Spend more time on your health. You’re not going to start eating better tomorrow. You’re not going to start exercising tomorrow. Start today. Our bodies are the most valuable possession we have and we are too often poor stewards of them. This past year I wrote about how I lost 40 pounds in 5 months. That was a life explosion for me. I have more energy. I get better sleep at night. I feel great. You will never regret any investment into your health.
3. Spend more time resting. We aren’t a people that rest very well. Our bodies need rest. Our minds and our souls need rest. Build rest into each day. Build a day of rest into each week. Build weeks of rest into each year. Set goals and then set your rest time in stone, with massive penalties for violating your rest time. There will always be a thousand things that come like a thief for our times of rest.
2. Spend more time with your family and friends. I think I’ve said it before, but no one gets to the end of their life and says they spent too much time with their family and friends. Friendships take time. If you don’t make time for the people in your life, soon there won’t be anyone around. If you don’t’ get along with your kids, take a hard look at yourself and ask why. Not talking to your parents? Same thing, focus on your part of the breakdown. Life is again far, far too short to spend it separated from loved ones. It’s time to forgive and seek forgiveness.
1. Spend more time with God. Get things right spiritually. I believe that peace with God comes through believing in Jesus. At the lowest point in my life 11 years ago, He was there. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for Jesus. Personally, I think it’s the most important thing in the world that a person get’s their soul right with God. I’m not trying to be preachy, I just don’t want to censor such a big part of who I am.
Live and enjoy life today. It will only make the years later on in life that much better, and without regrets.