One of the things I love about my new place is that the walk to and from town takes me through a beautiful cemetery. I found myself there today, on my way back from picking up a few things from the local shops. It’s the middle of December but it’s mild, and sun beams shone through the trees onto the age-old graves, illuminating the raindrops from last night’s downpours hanging delicately from the branches overhead.
I always slow down a little when I enter the cemetery. I take my time to look around, read the names on the grave stones, listen to the birds. Just be there. And always the same thought comes to mind:
I don’t get to choose how long I stay.
There’s a tendency to treat life like it’ll last forever. I’m guilty of behaving that way far too often. I find it hard to remember when I’m here, living and breathing with very practical human needs to take care of, that everything could (and does) change in the blink of an eye.
The things we put off until tomorrow, next week, or next year. The dreams we don’t follow. The projects we don’t start. The people we bear a grudge against. All the “I love you’s” that go unsaid. The way we abuse our bodies, thinking they’ll stand up to whatever we put them through. The things we say. Or don’t.
The cemetery is a vivid reminder for me that life is always now. Not yesterday. And not tomorrow. But here. Now.
I have my big dreams. I have the big vision. But those big dreams and that big vision can never be created anywhere other than today. People think dream lives get created somewhere in the future. That once today is out of the way they can get to thinking about the important dream stuff. That’s a mistake. Your dream life is always created in this moment.
So write out your dreams, please. Spend time with them. Connect to them. And then let them go and be with whatever is here today.
I don’t mean to make you sad. Quite the contrary, in fact. I want to spur you on to do today that which you thought you’d keep until tomorrow. The best time is always now. Because the (beautiful) truth of life is…
None of us get to choose how long we stay.
Love and courage,