Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Living Life to the Fullest

Cherish yesterday,
Dream tomorrow,
Live today.
-- Richard Bach (from 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull' -

Seasons come and go, each passing season a milepost along the highway we call life.  On Sunday, I spent some time in remembrance of the two loveliest ladies in my life--my mom and grandmother--and how they cherished life and lived it to the fullest.  And then I think of the man in the apartment upstairs.  His wife had died a little over a year ago.  They had gone to the South Street Seaport where she collapsed with a heart attack.  The two of them, both retired, would go someplace the beach, to concerts, to the fireworks, on boat rides, to picnics in the park.  They lived each day as if there were no tomorrow.  And, when she was gone, he continued living life until he, too, collapsed and died the same way...outdoors enjoying the things he liked to do.  

The pessimist in life might say that they pushed themselves too hard and should have taken it easier.  The optimist says that life is to be lived no matter how old you are...and I had to sit back and think... Am I living life to the fullest or have I been simply letting it pass me by?  I tell my clients all the time, Never say you can't, but I never follow my own advice. When did it all happen?  When did I become that pessimist who constantly walks around telling myself 'I cannot do that anymore'?  

My early twenties were a difficult time for me in many ways,  and if anyone out there has ever suffered from psychosomatic illness, they will understand what I am about to say.  A minor cold would become a major illness.  I'd get my old medical book and find something to fit the symptoms. And it is very real to those of us who suffer.  Your body believes whatever the mind tells it to believe.  I think the worst part was the hyperventilating. They were dreadful. I'd get a heavy feeling in the chest and struggle to catch my breath.  My lips would become tingly, and  I was sure I was I was going to die.  I went from doctor to doctor and each told me to breathe into a paper bag, but they were wrong.  I knew there was something seriously wrong with me.  

Then,  one day I found a book about the mind/body connection and saw myself on those pages.  Wow, I thought, these doctors were right.  Well, the first thing I did was toss out that medical book.  It wasn't doing me any good and was only making my life miserable, and after that, I gradually began to pull out of it and haven't suffered for years....but...

Fast forward about 40 years,  and I feel myself falling into the same trap, not quite so bad, to be sure, but a trap no less.  Granted, there is no denying that there are real aches and pains that come with age, but are they really enough to hold me back from living life to the fullest?  Or am I making them out to be worse than they really are?  I think it becomes easy on us, sometimes, to get stuck. 

Now, I seem to have veered far away from my original topic, living life for today...which is the only day we can really live. The past is behind us, and the future lies ahead, so all we have is now. We can take what we learned from yesterday and use it today, but we have to live for today, every minute of it, every season of it.  Time is not our enemy; we are.  

I accept the gifts of yesterday's memories, today's reality, and tomorrow's dreams

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. 
--William Butler Yeats--


  1. something i'm having a hard times with lately..good reminder

  2. Hi Mary ..... such a perfect post. That is why they call today....the present.....because it is a GIFT!! You will find your stride again...I'm my friend says...."put on your big girl panties...and move forward" LOL LOL



  3. What do you want to do, Mary?

    Interesting quote I use today...

    “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching." ~Unknown

  4. Ahhhhh, I wear the crown of hypochondriosis quite well (not proudly though). I've been banned from WebMD by my family and friends.

  5. I've missed your wisdom Mary--but I'm back and ready to tackle whatever comes my way (I think). It really has been a long winter and my body and mind really need to work it out with each other because I have a lot I want to do. Blessings to you and as my blog is titled. One Day At A Time--and that is enough for me!

  6. The only thing that stops us from living and doing the things we would like to do is us. No one or anything else stops us. Not sure why sometimes we try to stop living and just exist in our own little realm.