Putting Things off for Tomorrow? Try to Live in the Present

We’re not getting younger. Heed this truism: Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Time is ticking away.

Live in the moment: Grab onto happiness  There are places to visit, meals to eat, sights not to miss. Occasions to attend. New people to meet. Dates to go on and, ugh!, homes to clean, bills to pay and taxes to prepare and pay. Children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews with whom to spend time.

Get that annual checkup; don’t put it off. If something’s wrong, find out in the early stage. Visit your dentist at least twice a year. If you feel a lump or feel sick, have trouble hearing or seeing, get winded walking, gastro problems, notice a weird mark on your skin or have any kind of pain in your knees, joints or hips, take care of it so you can continue to enjoy a good quality of life.

This got us thinking about what we might be putting off. There are always the excuses. Too busy. Not enough time to do so right now. Money is tight. That seems to loom large. We might get Covid-19 since it’s still around and even killing people or we might catch a different virus if we fly on a plane, attend a concert we’ve been dying to see or an exhibition at a museum. We want to minimize our risks, so we say “No, thanks.”

Excuses. Excuses. We can rationalize not doing almost everything. 

We each have things we’d love to do right now. Since living in New York City, Margaret has learned there are many free activities for seniors. She tried a Spanish class that was disappointing. Before it’s too late, she needs to plunk down the funds for a good conversational language class. Also, on her list: She’d like to take her kids on a trip and maybe visit Machu Picchu since it reopened. Before doing so, she knows she needs to get in shape now!

She’d like to revisit Israel. Buy season tickets to the Met Opera and/or take an opera vacation tour. She’s no longer so interested in cooking but would like to learn how to make pretzels from scratch and a perfect pie crust, a chore that has crumbled during each attempt. She put off joining a singing group but did sign up at last and is tuning her singing chops in the process. And most pressing, Margaret is looking for her forever New York City home. She can’t put that off because her lease on a rental expires in August.

Hitting the non-milestone birthday before the next milestone one has triggered Barbara to think about doing certain things now, not later. Here are some on her front burner. She’d like: to visit 12 places on her bucket list—after almost no travel during Covid, maybe, taking a trip next year across the pond or somewhere farther away than she’s gone in her car over the last three years. She knows, however, she might change her mind based on Covid and more.

She hopes to spend time on more painting retreats with multiple teachers in great places while her hands are steady and eyesight good. She’s already started making more visits to museums to learn more about how her favorite artists used color, perspective and painted landscapes such as Cezanne. She is starting to plan some changes to her home or move closer to her daughters and spend more time with her three grandsons while they still get excited to see her before teenagerhood. She is starting to read more and watch less TV. She already has started her morning with a gratitude prayer. It’s not long but allows her to focus on the many reasons she’s lucky, and then she heads off to one exercise class before she returns to her computer for work.

We say, let your imaginations float with the clouds. As we mention in our book, Not Dead Yet, spend a year in Paris or London. Drink the wine you’ve put away before it becomes vinegar (one bottle did turn that Barbara had been saving for a fabulous celebration, oh well.) Gobble up the expensive chocolate before it melts. Get in a hot tub, use a scrub and get in bed to read a good book, maybe one of the classics.

Make the move while you physically and mentally can to a home where you can age in place comfortably. Don’t know where that is? Start your research now. Tell friends and family how much you love them, say it often and say it out loud. Take a healthy stroll down the street to enjoy the fresh air and surroundings. As we read in the Washington Post (Feb. 14, 2023), “Want to be happy on the inside. Go outside,” a perspective by John Kelly.

Here are what a few folks told us that they’ve been putting off and would like to do:

Audrey S.
I would say how important I think it is to stay in touch with people and let them know that you are thinking of them, that you care - and saying what you want to say to them. Tomorrow doesn't always come. If possible, try to tone down disputes, etc. and create goodwill and understanding. It never hurts to apologize - in fact, it goes tremendously far! On the other side, always remember to thank people and always remember gratitude for that which we have that is good.  You can gather my state of mind as I am getting on in years.

Jane G.
Moving out of my very inexpensive rental—that is a four-floor walkup and seems daunting as I age-- into something I own and is permanent.

Laurie K.
My husband suggested that I go to his trainer. He said it would be perfect for me. Have I called her yet? Of course not. 

Laurie T.
I’m an O.T. and I always put off writing my work reports until the last minute.

Sandy K.
Putting off dealing with my medical issues outside the medical model. I want to try some homeopathic remedies but have avoided doing so until I can’t deal with the pain or discomfort any longer.

And most important, try to live in the present and be grateful every day. Grouchy one day or two? That’s fine, get back on the focus-on-today track as soon as you can. It’s fine also to plan ahead but don’t make that your only focus. Today is here and another truism comes to mind: Carpe diem or seize the day!


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