I grew up in a world where “tomorrow” played a critical role in everything you did. People saved for tomorrow. People planned for tomorrow. “Tomorrow” was the day you were going to enjoy life. “Tomorrow” also was to be feared. It might be a rainy day and you had better be prepared for the storm.
My parents worried about me. “Stewart, you’re spending too much on the kids! You need to save for the future!” So life’s cardinal rule was to work hard TODAY so that one day you could relax and enjoy life.
Flash forward to today. My mother was right, I should have saved more. Today, the economy is thriving. I no longer have a medical practice. I didn’t save for the future, but I’ll survive. Many of those that worked every day and saved their money are finding that the value of their labor has seriously depreciated as their health worsened with age. Over the years many have lost money in the stock market and other investments. They find themselves in the same place I am, but they never really enjoyed spending their money. I did!
There are also those patients who are no longer with us. They died unexpectedly, seemingly without reason. Their nest eggs did them no good. They worked every day, year after year, saving for the future. Then they died! Oops, no tomorrow. So what’s a guy to do? Plan for tomorrow or live today?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this since I’ve gotten older. witnessed young patients die, and others who lose their health and wealth a little at a time. I think I’ve discovered a great truth. “Tomorrow” doesn’t exist. It is a mythical entity. Confused? Think about this. When you got up today, what day was it? It’s today, of course! Every morning, when you get up and out of bed, it’s today, isn’t it? So, if every day is today, does “tomorrow” really exist? If “tomorrow” doesn’t really exist, shouldn’t we strive to enjoy today?
I think my parents had it wrong. I think the old American ideal of working every day, day after day, in order to enjoy a mythical “tomorrow” needs to change. We need to learn to enjoy the day we have! When I was in Europe, I learned that Europeans think Americans “live to work” while Europeans “work to live.” I think they have it right!
So, live your life today and every day! Laugh, love, and share your life with others. Hope for lots of “TODAYS;” and, yes, save some of your money, but not at the expense of today’s joys. Remember, a wasted day is a precious commodity that, once lost, is irretrievable.