Don’t Defer Happiness…Now Is When You Live

Heard of the man who told himself that he would live his life after he earned enough money and took care of all his responsibilities…only to die before he could? Life is uncertain and as a certain Mr. SRK says in Bollywood style…kya pata, kal ho na ho. It’s the hard truth. There’s no guarantee for tomorrow. So do what you want to do, today. This isn’t a declaration to egg you to forget your responsibilities, to be footloose and reckless – it is just a gentle nudge that Now is when we live, Now is what you have. Don’t postpone happiness for tomorrow.

Busy executives chase ambition, better jobs and higher pay packets, telling themselves that they will spend time later with their children. We chase agendas, mundane daily stuff, allowing frivolous issues to get in the way and defer spending time with our ageing parents and close friends till we realize that they are gone.

Do you know of anyone who said on the death bed, ‘I wish I’d spent more time in the office?’

Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, uttered ‘I blew it’ as his last words, despite an estimated wealth of $65 billion.

How could that be? Why did a businessman par excellence with immense fame and fortune say, ‘I blew it?’ Sam was dedicated to his career and ambition but was never really ‘there’ as a father, husband and friend. He had the wealthiest pockets, but the poorest soul. And in those last minutes of his life, he realized where he had failed.

We feel overcome with emotion on meeting old friends; feel nostalgic about the fun and carefree days spent in school and college. Is there anyone who feels the same when handed a pay cheque?

So if you haven’t spent time with your parents in a long time, take off for a few days sans your family and just be with them. Even if it’s just for a day or two. Don’t put it off till the kids’ exams are over, the important deadline is met, the crucial deal is sealed. Something or the other will always pose a hurdle.

If you feel like bunking a day at work and surprising your kids by picking them from school; or feel like going for a long drive with your loved one; walking in the rain, going off for a solo holiday to the hills…Just do it. There’ll always be things to hold you back, meetings to attend, chores to tend to, agenda to follow and a multitude of nays to stop you.

Life always gets in the way of life; don’t let it. Find a way to listen to that soft, often feeble voice in your heart. We always crush it with logic. Don’t. Play it out. Yes, we have jobs, family and responsibilities to shoulder. We aren’t hippies without a care in the world and we can follow the wanton song in our heart. But if you lose your job for bunking just a day then maybe you need to chuck the job asap. Or if you feel that your kids will fail if they miss a day of school, then there’s something seriously wrong with you.

Money is important. It’s a necessity of life but not life itself. The work that we do, the money we earn is an important part of us, a big part of who we are but it can’t and shouldn’t define us. If your job is keeping you away from the people you love, it’s time to change the job.

Being busy is the new status symbol. Unless you’re always busy, you’re not doing enough with your life. I’m so time poor is today’s favourite chant. Always complaining we don’t have enough time to do the things we want to.

Friedrich Nietzsche said in his writing: We have to answer for our existence to ourselves and will therefore be our own true pilot.

Do you sometimes feel frustrated with ‘who you are and yearn to be better than what you are?’ But not quite sure what that means?

Nietzsche was very sympathetic to this kind of restlessness. He doesn’t chide us to count our blessings and remember that things could be a lot worse; or say that in the overall condition of the world we were ourselves terribly lucky, and that we should pull ourselves together. Instead, he invites us to get interested in what is going on when we feel dissatisfied with ourselves. He sees this as a sign of good psychological health. He wants us to get to know this dissatisfaction, take it seriously and do something about it.

What Nietzsche is saying is this: the things we long to do and accomplish – the kind of person we might hope to become – are in fact within reach. But the path to each of those goals isn’t a straight and easy path. It involves suffering, annoyance with oneself, disappointment, envy and frustration.

This weekend I attended a book reading session of a debutant author. A young enthusiastic writer who penned her first book just to effectuate the dream she nursed. She is candid when she admits, ‘I don’t know much about writing. I haven’t done any research. I just wrote.’ Having taken a sabbatical from her job to promote and publicize her book, she pulled out all stops to make enough noise about the book. ‘All the money, time and energy that I’m putting into this is something I’m doing for myself. To make my dream come true. I want to give it my best shot. So that I don’t have any regrets that I didn’t try to chase my dream.’

So whatever it is that you want to do; learn something new, chase a dream, be a little wild, change the job, leave the job, take up a job…whatever it is, the time to do it is now. Don’t defer.

Visual courtesy: