If you are like me, it seems the older we get the faster life appears to be passing. Oftentimes I find things I recall as happening a year or two ago occurred three or four years prior and I sit amazed at how quickly those years passed. Recently I’ve lost a few close friends and have others who are struggling with health issues and it seems the reoccurring comment I hear is, “don’t take life for granted and stop putting off your goals and dreams another day.” Even those not going through any kind of challenge have shared with me their desire to live a more fulfilling life. I then think of a comment Pastor and Televangelist Joel Osteen once said that has resonated with me, “There are many great books and inventions lying in cemeteries that never came to fruition!” “Is this my time to finally give myself permission to set time aside to fulfill my desires?” More importantly, “What legacy do I leave my son when he never sees me fulfill my goals and dreams?” The quote attributed to Walt Disney, but is presumed to be said by Disney Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald, “If you can dream it, you can do it,” has recently taken on a whole new meaning for me. “Why do I find myself always in front of my computer when not with clients showing property?” When we first moved down from New York 22 years ago we went boating, played tennis and golf, visited the beach, and started writing a book that I have yet to finish. “What happened? Why am I not permitting myself to set time aside to enjoy those simple pleasures before it is too late and I can’t enjoy those moments to their fullest? Why am I reflecting on past memories and not making new ones?”
I have always been a “summer kid,” at heart. Summer was a time when everything came alive and those memories have been frozen in time and seem like they just occurred yesterday. Simple things like bike rides, trips to the beach, days spent boating and exploring new areas by car were those simple pleasures that hold such as special place in my heart. Now I’m hearing friends of mine who are on the road fulfilling dreams of traveling the country this summer in an RV, something they never did before. Another special couple we know is cruising their way up the Intracoastal from Florida to New York and ultimately completing the “Great Loop” as they return via the Mississippi. They have been documenting and sharing pictures of their travels on daily postings where you feel like a stowaway on their great adventure. For some these adventures have been planned for months, for others, it has been more spontaneous. In contrast, my recent adventures by car have taken me to such exotic places as Costco and Trader Joe’s where I am mesmerized by fresh-cut flowers and displays of barbeque grills and patio furniture. “What happened to our boating trips to places like Tween Waters in North Captiva where we felt like we were on vacation, or our excursions to the beach and small towns along the way with their quaint shops and restaurants?” As for golf and tennis, Tiger Woods and Roger Federer have nothing to worry about as I’m not even sure which end of the racquet or club I’m supposed to grip.
I’ve often laughed at those who are looking to move to Florida who tell me how often they are going to go to the beach, enjoy boating, and playing as much golf and tennis they can fit between all their outdoor activities. When asked why I’m laughing I typically respond with, “Sure you are and before you know it six months will pass and you won’t believe how little you did those things, yet your life will seem so busy.” I continue by saying, “We fall into this “manana” mindset where what we don’t do today we feel we can always do tomorrow and before you realize it weeks and months have passed and you haven’t done many of the things that brought you here in the first place.”
Have I become my father who always looked forward to the weekend and then spent it admiring his handiwork trimming bushes and washing the car while others passed by on their boats or in their cars on their way to the golf course or to unknown destinations? If Covid didn’t have a way of taking stock in what’s important in life, certainly those daily reminders from friends saying, “I’m not putting off another day what I have been wanting to do all my life,” is something worth acting on.
Apparently my wife Gail didn’t think I was implementing this goal fast enough and took matters into her own hands and signed us up for a golf membership. Giving myself permission it was O.K. to put the computer aside for two hours I felt like a kid with a new toy as we had a fun-filled round where my wife showed me the finer points of using someone’s pool cage to have her golf shot land in the middle of the fairway! While I never learned that trick in junior golf, it made me realize all the special moments I was missing, and wonderful memories I wasn’t making.
Golf may be just the beginning of recapturing some of those lost opportunities I took for granted, and hopefully, soon I’ll finish that book I started to write so many years ago that gave me so much enjoyment. While I don’t know if it will be a best seller one thing is for certain, I’m going to make the most of this summer and start to enjoy pursuing those goals and dreams I’ve been putting off far too long.