When you reach a certain age the time seems to fly by. When I was a kid it seemed like a day was endless. Is that something to do with the way humans are wired or is it some kind of phenomenon that we will never understand?
It seems like it was just yesterday that Cousin Jeanette came for her visit — after not seeing her for a year because of the pandemic. But in reality, it was a week ago today that she was here. Where did that week go? It went past like lightning!
That seems to be the way my life is going these days too. The days, weeks and months are speeding by like an out-of-control freight train and I have absolutely no control over it. If I allow myself to think much about it, it becomes frightful.
It was the great Buddha who once said, “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
That statement by the Buddha is similar to one that I have always said, “Now” is the only time we have to do anything that we want to get done. Yesterday is dead and gone and can never return again and tomorrow is promised to nobody so we cannot accomplish anything in the dead past or the uncertain future. If something is worth doing at all, it must be done now or never.
Think on that for awhile. Meditate on it!
I had a friend once who would only buy himself one Pepsi Cola soft drink at a time.
I asked him once, “Why don’t you buy a whole case of Pepsi because if you buy it by the case, you will save yourself some money.”
I will never forget what my friend said to me in return, “If I buy a whole case then I might die before I drink it all and I do not want somebody else to drink the soda pop that I have paid for.”
This was the same friend who rarely ate anything else for lunch except for a grilled cheese sandwich.
Every work day at precisely 11:00 A.M., he would open his lunch box and take out that nicely-wrapped grilled cheese sandwich. You could set your clock by it.
Speaking of the folly of making too many plans, let us remember what Life really is. Life really is all that happens to us while we are making plans for something else. We can make all the plans in the world but Life usually has something else in store for us that has nothing at all to do with those plans we have made.
When I was a child, my family lived in a fairly povertous state. We had a small bungalow with a living room, a kitchen and one bedroom with an outhouse toilet about a hundred feet down a path out the kitchen door. It was cramped but we made do. I slept on a couch in the front room and my Mom and Dad shared the very narrow bedroom. We carried water for drinking and bathing from a nearby neighbor. Our clothes were washed in a gasoline powered washing machine.
During those days I would daydream. I would listen to the radio and observe neighbors who were a lot better off financially than we were and I would plan things in my head …. I would tell myself things like, “When I grow up I am going to have a bath tub in the house with running water like Mrs. Jones does.”
I never knew how I was going to get that bath tub but inwardly I knew that someday, some how, I would get it. I learned another lesson in success. The lesson I learned from wanting that bath tub so badly was this: All success begins with a burning, constant, consuming desire to do something or to get something.”
Later I learned that if you plant that desire and if you feed it and nurture it and dwell on it and yes, even obsess about it, the desire will find its way deep down into your subconscious mind and will begin to lead you, step-by-measured step, failure by failure toward fulfilling the goal represented by the desire.
For years I visualized (Imagined) myself in that tub … bathing luxuriously. I daydreamed about it constantly. I could literally taste it in my imagination. I got stubborn and convinced myself that some way, someday, I was going to have that tub.
It was that small dream about a bathtub that helped draw me out of a mindset that kept telling me, “You are poor. Your were born poor. Your parents and your grandparents were all poor and you are destined to always be poor.”
A few years later, when I was in my early Twenties, my dad died of a cerebral accident one day and I had to become the man of the house for the sake of my elderly Mother and my new wife.
The local fire department had been trying to deal with my dad in order to try and convince him to sell the bungalow and the adjacent lot so that they could erect a new and more modern firehouse on the property. He had steadfastly refused to sell.
When I became “The Man” I negotiated a deal with them. I told them if they wanted the property, I would be willing to trade it for another house up the street — a larger house … a house in need of some repair ….a house that had set vacant because the previous owners had passed on ….
The house I had my eye on had a bigger yard than the one I was bartering with too.
I had only one condition to the deal: “Put in a modern bathroom, tub, sink, cabinets, shower and all and you’ve got yourselves a deal.”
The deal was done — I had my tub — I had a bigger house —- I had a bigger yard —and later I got a loan from a Building and Loan company and put a new front porch on the house, new aluminum siding, a new roof and a new chimney …. gave the inside a good paint job …new carpets … the works …. and sold it all and made a profit of Three times what the old house was worth.
From all that came a bigger house and a better bathtub.
Let me tell you that the wise man once counselled, “Forget about accepting the life that other people and circumstances seem to have planned for you and embrace the dream of the life that is waiting for you.”
It is comfortable to ride the status quo until you get your feet on the ground and start sprouting your wings so you can fly — but complacency is not the flavor of the day …. there is a better life waiting … and only you can take the first definite steps in the direction of that new life ….one step at a time … but keep on keeping on —- Whatever it is that you can imagine, you can finally achieve if you have patience and are determined enough.
Remember to keep stoking that burning desire.
Remember that frustration and failure are really opportunities in disguise. The human ego hates to fail. The human spirit comes alive under a challenge and if you can stoke the fires of your inner rage at failing or being held back from achieving your dreams, that inner fire will consume everything that stands in your way!
My Dad’s dream for me was for me to become a gray-haired old man with a shovel in my hand, digging graves for $35 a week at the local cemetery …. as he had done for years. I didn’t want to dishonor my Dad’s desires for me but I got used to the Million Dollar credit rating that I finally realized in the 1970s.