I admit it…I enjoy watching television. While I do like to read the occasional book, I find television watching to be very relaxing and meditative (to all those who meditate, I appreciate I am taking certain liberties in comparing TV to meditation…please, indulge me!).
I frequently see commercials for financial institutions talking about the benefits of saving now for a “rainy day”. More specifically, I see these commercials for senior citizens who are retired and starting to live their life…going on trips, taking up hobbies, sky-diving; doing all the things they wanted to do when they were younger but for whatever reason, couldn’t.
As an “aspiring Enlightened Male”, I question the validity of these commercials. I appreciate that these financial institutions are encouraging us to save and to tuck money away so that we don’t live beyond our means…believe me, I totally get it!
But when I see these advertisements encouraging people to save for when we retire, I have to wonder why we have to wait until we retire to start living?
These days, its becoming more and more apparent to many hard-working individuals that retiring at 55 or even 65 might not be a reality. Many people my age are out of work or extremely over their heads in debt. The thought of being able to save in the hopes that one day, many years down the road, we might be able to start living by doing things we might normally have put off in our working years, is absolutely silly.
Since the start of my blog, I have talked about being present, living in the now…not worrying so much about the future and certainly not thinking about the past because these two are really out of our control.
Why should we start to live our lives when we are old? First off, how do we know for certain that we will be around when we are old? We cannot predict our health and if we will be well enough to be active and “see the world” as these commercials seem to say. Unfortunately, with the increase in obesity and diseases like diabetes becoming more prevalent, who can really say for sure that they will be around when they are 65 or 70 or 75, in fine enough health to “live life” with quality.
I would like to suggest that this way of thinking is “old school”. I am not suggesting that we go out and spend spend spend on things we cannot afford. However, I am suggesting that we need to change the way we think when it comes to living life.
The rock group Loverboy once wrote a cheesy song called “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend”. This song implied that our lives should be all about the weekend; that’s when the fun starts. Well, last I checked, the weekend was only two days long. What about the other five days of the week? Should we just ignore those other days simply because we have to work on those five days and that the real living takes place when we aren’t working?
What about celebrating birthdays? We make a big stink about celebrating the day of our birth. Its one day! What about the other 364 days of the year? Should we not consider celebrating those too?
The more I think about these things the more I come to realize the importance of not only being grateful for each day that we wake up and are healthy and able, but that we should strive to live each day to its absolute fullest. Monday through Friday are just as important as Saturday and Sunday. The days before and after my birthday are equally important as December 8th.
Each day that I wake and see the world around me and encounter and interact with other people is a wonderful thing. I am thrilled and blessed to have an amazing wife and children. I am elated to love and be loved by my close friends and family.
I don’t want to wait around to retire to really start living. The thought of that feels distant and abstract.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “We are always getting ready to live but never living.”
No time like the present to start.