I think as I’ve grown older and experienced more of life, I’ve become more aware of the truth behind these words.
I can think of times I haven’t really appreciated the value of the encounter or situation until days, weeks, in fact sometimes years later. Times when I didn’t truly appreciate the time I had with people that mattered to me. It’s as if the encounters were a gift that I now value but didn’t at the time. So there’s now a sense of sorrow and grief – not only are some of those people no longer here on earth, but I see the preciousness of opportunities that won’t occur again. Dynamics that have changed. Children who are now well into adulthood with children of their own. Friends who have come and gone, whose faces I don’t expect to see again. Things I willingly gave up at the time, only to realise that years later I mourn their loss.
It seems crazy now, but hindsight is like that. Unmet expectations can cause such pain. It’s as if some precious jewellery has been stolen and I wept at its loss, only to realise it wasn’t stolen at all. In a moment of madness I gave it all away. The loss was totally my own doing.
So reminder to self is to appreciate the good things, the good people, the opportunities that are before me right now, so that in coming weeks, months or years I can enjoy not just the memories made but also the knowledge that I didn’t waste a precious drop of life; I made the most the opportunities and experiences available to me.