If you are like me, you’ve had enough of our dreary winter weather and are looking forward to the summer — although not necessarily the heat and humidity. This year, my husband, Lee, and I are going on an Alaskan cruise; it is on our bucket list, and we are really looking forward to it. Sometimes a vacation can be a spur-of-the-moment, spontaneous adventure, full of wonderful memories and fairly inexpensive. Other times, a vacation requires planning and budgeting to bring the dream to reality.
For some, life is like a spontaneous vacation — never planning, always moving from one place, job or relationship to the next. They live in the moment and never seem to worry about the consequences. While living in the moment can be exciting, it may not be as much fun when the bill comes due — and the financial cost of your adventures means there is no money to pay the rent or meet your other obligations.
What about you? Are you a planner or a spontaneous, live-in-the-moment kind of person? Maybe you are a good mix of the two. Have you taken the time to sit down and really look at your life, where you have been and where you want to go? Do you like what you see, or is that why you avoid looking? What are your dreams? What is on your bucket list? Do you have a plan you are actively working that can help you realize your goals — the ones that fill your life with wonderful memories of dreams fulfilled?
Have you ever taken the time to think about what your 40-, 60-, 80- or 100-year-old self might have to say to you if you could sit down and have a conversation with her? Maybe she would say thanks for all the wonderful memories. Would she say thank you for taking the time to take care of your mental, physical and spiritual self? Perhaps she would admonish you to take better care of yourself in one or all of these areas so she doesn’t have to suffer in what should be her golden years.
What would your older self say to you about her financial situation? Have you made proper provisions for her? Will she have money set aside for retirement? Will she have to worry about outliving her savings? Will she be able to afford to continue to live on her own? Will she have the money to pay someone to do things she is no longer able to do herself? Will her standard of living be diminished because her only source of income is Social Security?
What if she were to say she would die prematurely, leaving her husband or family to care for her children and pay off her debts? What if she told you her premature death and the loss of her income caused her family to lose their home or standard of living?
If I am honest, there are things my older self would encourage me to change, especially regarding taking better care of my physical health. I can’t change my past, but I can learn from it and change my future.
What about you? What are those things you know you should change yet continue to avoid by telling yourself you will get to it “someday soon?” Lee reminds me frequently there are two pains in life — the pain of discipline, or the pain of regret; we get to choose. Now is the time to choose to begin making changes. Today is the day to begin to live your best life as you plan for a wonderful future.