Procrastination isn’t a desired behavior although it often sneaks into daily activities. Like the unexpected guest showing up unannounced with expectations of luxurious amenities, procrastination can adversely affect good intentions and positive outcomes. It requires effort not to fall into its habits, however appealing they sometimes seem.
Speaking from experience, I know numerous reasons why procrastinating is a poor idea. Just a few weeks ago, I was given life lessons twice in the same month about timeliness. A high school classmate, Carol, and I have exchanged visits, phone calls, and mail since 1966. We’ve lived in the same area for nearly all those years, but she enjoyed cards and mail as much as I do. The past few years her health diminished considerably and mail worked nicely for keeping in touch. Her birthday was March 1, and she loved birthdays. I’d send a card although sometimes late, but I don’t think she minded. It made her birthday last longer, I reasoned, although this year I was on time. I called her cell phone the evening of her birthday, but didn’t receive an answer. No cause for concern as I assumed she was busy celebrating. She was, although the celebration was in a much different dimension. She died 6:18 p.m. on her birthday.
While that might seem particularly sad, her departure from this world on the same date that she entered, for Carol, it was, as her obituary said, “Very fitting as it was her favorite time of year.” Maybe other friends experienced that gentle, unspoken urging to send her birthday card on time.
So easy to assume there is always another day, with more time and opportunities, and usually that’s true. We’re all aware some day will be our last, but we push that uncomfortable thought away. Instead we need to say and do now what’s important to us and others before time runs out.
My mother-in-law was from a family of 11 children and Ed, the youngest and last surviving, celebrated his 90th birthday in January. His family honored him with an afternoon party complete with live music and a Cubs’ cake. Less than six weeks later he died. Fortunately my husband and I know 90th birthday party invitations shouldn’t be taken lightly. We were pleased to celebrate with Ed’s loved ones, never thinking it would be his last birthday.
My age isn’t an issue for me. Vitamins, health foods, exercise and meditation cannot stop years from accumulating. Naïve, perhaps, but I didn’t expect to attend so many visitations and funerals as I grow older. I’m exceedingly grateful for the privilege of still being here, and it’s a blessing I never take for granted. Sadness is part of growing older because we must say goodbye to loved ones as they complete their life journey.
Sadly no mail from Carol on special occasions will create a void. I’ll miss not hearing from her. In her memory I’ll work hard to be timely, maybe even early with responses to others. I’ll go to birthday or anniversary parties or share time and treasures because life is for celebrating, and regrets should be minimal. Carol poignantly reminded me of that on her 70th birthday. I appreciate the reminder and her presence in my life.