Wednesday, June 20, 2012


In 1977 I was spending a perfect summer day at a friend’s house in my native Western Pennsylvania.  Emancipated from the responsibilities of high school, my attention had turned to the next adventure of my life, the beginning of college.  My friend’s mother had prepared a delicious meal that I’m sure included potatoes, cabbage and lots of butter.  While eating that day I remember chattering with my friend that I couldn’t wait for the summer to pass and for my freshman year of college to begin. 

On that hot and muggy day my friend’s mother interrupted our conversation with an observation that stopped me in my tracks and forever changed the way I view my life.  She said...“Last year you said you couldn’t wait to be sixteen—couldn’t wait to get your driver’s license. And then you couldn’t wait for your high school graduation.  Now you can’t seem to wait for summer to be gone so you can go to college.”  She concluded her short but profound statement with “Quit wishing your life away.”

A few years have passed since that conversation but those words have influenced every day since then.  I am not waiting for my situation to change in order to be happy.  Why?  Because happiness is a choice.  You are as happy as you choose to be.  In fact, you are as happy as you choose to be right now.  It’s not based on circumstance or other people.  It’s based on your choosing the right attitude for today about today.

Many of us are living temporary lives.  We eat temporary food on disposable plates.  We live in temporary housing on a six month lease. We can’t even commit to furniture.  The symbol of our culture should be the futon…inexpensive and easily moved.  Our friends ask us to commit to an event for Friday night and we won’t because there may be something better, like the proverbial blue light special event that just might come along. 

We fall into the “when and then” trap….when I graduate, then I’ll be happy and really start living my life.  When I get married and have kids, then I’ll be happy.  When my kids leave home, then I’ll be happy.  When I get a certain job, then I’ll be happy, When my income reaches a certain level, then I’ll be happy.  All of those may be worthwhile goals but if we’re not careful, we’ll spend our lives living in limbo, waiting to live, waiting to laugh, waiting to love. 

Stop waiting for tomorrow. Stop living in limbo. Consume and enjoy every moment of this day like a plate of stuffed cabbage and mashed potatoes.  Today counts.

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