I’ll Do It Tomorrow

Someone once said that flowers are a better gift when the recipient is alive rather than as a decoration on the recipient’s casket.

Even so, our culture frowns upon affirmation and encouragement and we wait until people can no longer hear us to share about how much we care and admire them.

A superior once told me that over-encouraging people who were reporting to me at work was a bad idea because people would become cocky and lazy. My management style relies heavily on affirming the strengths of those in my team and so this concept of people stagnating due to praise made absolutely no sense to me.

I remember being incredibly shook up when my roommate’s mother passed away out of the blue. There were a lot of family similarities when it came to age, family dynamic, and life stages. I remember calling my mother and telling her that I loved her to which she quite alarmingly responded, “What’s going on? What’s wrong? What do you need? Are you in trouble?”

I think something snapped in me that day and I decided that life was too short to hold back on being “sentimental” or to hold back on expressing how I really felt. I started being so much more vocal about my care and appreciation for my family, friends, and even coworkers.

Every instance where I used to say “I’ll do that tomorrow” or “I’ll say that to them later on in a letter or a text when it’ll be less awkward” I began to just swallow my pride and vocalize it right when I felt inclined to. I had to break down these walls I built as a young person in which I was rejected for being too sentimental and just risk it each time, because quite frankly, I was not promised the next day.

My favorite series of icebreaker questions goes something like this:

“If you had unlimited resources, what would you do?”

“If you had unlimited resources but the doctor said you had a year to live what would you do?”

“If you had your current resources and a year to live what would you do?”

“So what’s keeping you from doing those things right now?”

I love this series of questions because it begs the question of what do you find to be the most important in your life?

Amidst the concatenation of career, dreams, passions, relationships, organizations, family, and friendships, it is easy to misprioritize the different categories in our lives.

We buy into the fantasy of being invincible without realizing that in doing so, we falsely believe that we are somehow exempt from tragedy and loss in our own lives.

And yet all of us put our blind faith in the sound mindedness of strangers to preserve our own lives. There are only dotted lines separating us from collisions on the freeway. We trust that the critical connection points on the elevator shaft have not rusted through. We think that if we don’t know anyone who has died because of a virus that it is therefore immaterial.

I am terribly afraid of dying alone.

For most of my life, I was searching for someone so that I could have the comfort of not dying alone.

And then it dawned on me.

Unless I died in a tragedy simultaneously with my loved ones, I will probably die alone.

It was in this moment that I realized for so much of my life, I had been living for the future: the security of what was to come. Oftentimes I failed to live in the present, simply hoping for something better to happen tomorrow.

I couldn’t really appreciate what was happening now no matter how amazing because if the moment was memorable I was thinking of ways to replicate it in the future, instead of simply being present with the people I was with in the moment.

Planning the next trip while on a great trip. Scheduling the next hang out while this one wasn’t even over yet. Agonizing over the coming end or change of a friendship or relationship.

I was always afraid of the end.

Once I accepted that all things (even the best things) do in fact come to an end, it changed how I lived my life.

What freedom there is to appreciate the moment for what it is. What wonders await when we live in the moment and the present?

I no longer worry about coming off as too sentimental when I vocally appreciate my friends and family, because for all I know, this could be the last interaction that we share.

And when I live that intentionally, there is not this fear of the end of life here sneaking up on me and robbing me of the opportunity to say how I really felt.

We live in crazy times, and our virtual lives rob us of so many genuine interactions.

How often do we pass on meaningful conversations and interactions just to refresh the page to see if we have more messages or notifications?

How often do we use the excuse of “waiting until next time” to tell friends or family that we care about them and that we appreciate them?

Do we really want to share our fondest memories with someone in a eulogy to strangers?

Live in the present and seize the day.

Don’t let your life be defined by “I’ll do it tomorrow”

One thought on “I’ll Do It Tomorrow

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