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Tiny Wisdom: What Are You Waiting For?

“Before someone’s tomorrow has been taken away, cherish those you love, appreciate them today.” ~Michelle C. Ustaszeski

Most of us are really good at finding reasons to wait.

We wait to call good friends we miss because we assume we’ll have plenty of time.

We wait to tell people how we really feel because we hope it will someday feel safer.

We wait to forgive the people who’ve hurt us because we believe they should reach out first.

We wait to apologize for the things we’ve done because we feel too stubborn or ashamed to admit fault.

If we’re not careful, we can spend our whole lives making excuses, holding off until a better time, only to eventually realize that time never came.

It sounds morbid to acknowledge that our days here limited, and it’s scary to realize that none of us can ever know how many we have.

But we can know that in our final moments, it’s unlikely we’ll say, “I wish I waited longer,” or “I wish I stayed angry longer,” or “I wish I played it safe longer.”

Most of us will get to the end of our lives and say, “I’m sorry.” “I forgive you.” Or, “I love you.”

Of course, there’s another option: We can say those things right now.

We can appreciate the people we love in action instead of distracting ourselves with everyday worries. We can be brave in expressing our thoughts and feelings instead of over-analyzing and talking ourselves out of it. We can decide for ourselves what truly matters and honor it while we have the chance.

This is our chance to live and love. This moment is our only guaranteed opportunity to be thoughtful, compassionate, understanding, forgiving, and kind to the people we value.

It might be terrifying. It might require humility. It might seem like it’s not a priority.

We owe it to ourselves to acknowledge it is, and to do something about it instead of building up reasons to regret.

What have you been meaning to do or say—and what are you waiting for?

Photo by Jun Acullador

Avatar of Lori Deschene

About Lori Deschene

Tiny Buddha Founder Lori Deschene is the author of the Tiny Wisdom eBook series (which includes one free eBook) & co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an eCourse that helps you get unstuck & change your life. She's now seeking stories to include in her next book, 365 Tiny Love Challenges by Tiny Buddha. Click here to share your story! For inspiring posts and wisdom quotes, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter & Facebook.

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  • https://plus.google.com/112767041460502214504 Greg Miernicki

    Please don’t wait any longer… add a G+ button to your site :)
    http://www.google.com/intl/en/webmasters/+1/button/index.html

  • Mike

    Nice post, Lori. BTW, saw a couple copies of your book at the Barnes and Noble (in Little Rock, AR) yesterday. Congrats!

  • http://www.bluecollarworkman.com/ TB at BlueCollarWorkman

    My father is a lying, cheating, alcoholic SOB. But every day I try to forgive him again, and I never stop taking his calls when he climbs out of his drunken stupor and remembers how to dial. I know that he can’t be fully trusted, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t still love him and forgive him every day (even though he never asks).

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

    Great reminder. Now if I can just stop waiting for the world to change! LOL. Seriously though, I love this concept. Just the other night I was watching Orange County Choppers and see that Sr. and Jr. finally meet to talk about their relationship – they’ve been not talking for several years. But I then see both their ego’s coming out and they get defensive and it’s hard to watch. Our ego and pride can rob us of so much peace, love and harmony. And unfortunately for many people, that’s not obvious or relevant until something tragic happens.

  • Stargazer

    I get upset with my mom because she never acknowledges the ‘ideas, thoughts and theories’ I share with her. But, then, I find that she copies them in some way or other but never says… “hey you inspired me” or “that was a great idea; it inspired me to do this…”. 
    She does this all the time.It’s so petty but it really brings me down because I long for her acceptance. I have to learn to let it go and enjoy all the reasons I love her. 

    Wonderful article, Lori, as always.

  • Kai4p

    I really loved this post. I realize a lot that I’m putting off saying the things that really matter to the people in my life that matter because I’m scared or feel like I can just do it another time, but I’m stuck in this habit. This post was wonderful encouragement to step up and be brave and stop second-guessing myself. Thank you!!!

  • Stargazer

    I get upset with my mom because she never acknowledges the ‘ideas, thoughts and theories’ I share with her. But, then, I find that she copies them in some way or other but never says… “hey you inspired me” or “that was a great idea; it inspired me to do this…”. It feels to me like she competes with me. She does this all the time. It’s so petty but it really brings me down because I long for her acceptance. I have to learn to let it go and enjoy all the reasons I love her. Wonderful article, Lori, as always.

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

    TB, that’s amazing you shared that. I can relate somewhat, my father was a drinker, although not a real mean drunk but just really hard to communicate with and that’s all he really cared about for most of my life growing up. At least that was my perception. I learned how to understand “his” love language as I got older and am grateful I changed my own perception of him and started to build a better relationship with him before he died suddenly in 2010. He didn’t really change, but I did. Obviously there’s still some resentment there towards your father (“even though he never asks”) – so I understand that’s hard. But keep trying and eventually (hopefully) you won’t have to add disclaimers. :-)

  • http://optimalternative.com/ Mark B Hoover

    “Of course, there’s another option: We can say those things right now.”

    Thank you for being. You are truly an inspiration.

    ~ Mark

  • http://optimalternative.com/ Mark B Hoover

    TB, I believe judgment must be released before there is any chance of forgiveness. If that is not doable, move on. I did so, sadly, with my own father. Not a word passed between us for nine years…then he died.

  • James33

    I can’t believe this was posted today. I’ve been thinking of reaching out to someone, but I don’t think I can be the one to make first contact…

  • Dzt9rmg

    yes: this counts and we need to do now so we wont live with guilt if some event occurs.

  • http://twitter.com/ElleSommer Elle

    I’m reminded of Willie Nelson singing “I could’ve love you better, didn’t mean to be unkind – you know that was the last thing on my mind.”  I’ve lost two very important people in my life Lori and I can say from experience ~ don’t wait ~ Lori is right. :-)

  • http://www.madlabpost.com/ Nicole/TheMadlabPost

    Where you wrote “We can decide for ourselves what truly matters and honor it while we have the chance” and “This moment is our only guaranteed opportunity to be thoughtful, compassionate, understanding, forgiving, and kind to the people we value”….those are the best parts of the piece! 
    What have I been meaning to say? Well, nothing really…instead, I’ve been meaning to visit one of my friends whom I haven’t spoken with in several months. We lost touch and I figured that she wasn’t able to reach me due to some telephone technical issues. So, I waited for, and sorta expected her to at least attempt to visit me but I could also make the first move. Like you said….there is only a limited amount of time that we all get here on this earth.

  • http://IrvingsJourney.com/ Irving Podolsky

    Yes, Yes, Lori! Such an important reminder!

    Again, you made me think – like dividing your To-Do list into two categories: actions you take that you know will bring comfort to others, and actions you take that may not.

    I can understand why we steer clear of uncomfortable confrontations. But why do we drop opportunities to say or do things to people that will make them happy? Could it be we have forgotten that when we bring joy to others it makes US happy as well?

    Could it be that while avoiding bad feelings we avoid the good ones too? I think that’s the case. We avoid the risk of failure.

    But ya know, when you give love you get love. Right?

    So what about telling the truth to people when you know it will be an uncomfortable situation? This is where “people skills” come into play; where we need to be sensitive and empathetic. I think that if we choose kind words with a non-confrontational attitude, we’ve got a shot at some positive results.

    Sure, that’s hard to do.

    Still, I think if we try walking in another person’s shoes, we’ll understand their point-of-view and it will be easier to bridge the conflict.

    Not always, but extending the olive branch is more about US than THEM…

    …because if we’ve tried our best to reach out as soon as we can, we’ll feel better about ourselves. We’ll increase our self-respect by doing the right thing.

    Consequently, that little wisdom still holds true: When you give love you get love, even when it’s your own.

    Irv

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks for the note Greg! I’ve asked my tech person several times, and it doesn’t seem to happen. I don’t know how to do it myself. I will get it on here soon!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks Mike! And how cool you saw my book in Barnes and Noble. Thanks for sharing that with me =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I think that’s the tough thing…that oftentimes we don’t have that “a ha” moment until it’s too late. I’ve never seen Orange County Choppers. I’ll have to check that out!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks so much. I can see how that would be troubling. I think it’s great you’re willing to accept and look past that to enjoy all the things you love about her. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

     You’re most welcome. I’m so glad this post inspired you!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Are you thinking of doing it anyways?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I heard him singing when I read this. A beautiful reminder that we can love each other better now…

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’ve been doing that a lot recently! I have all these old friends on Facebook who, at one point, I felt really close to. I’ve been reaching out to people and planning to get together, and it’s really done my heart well. It’s like they say…we tend to regret the things we didn’t do more than the things we did!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    This is all so insightful Irving! That’s a good point about bringing joy to others making us happy. I think sometimes we avoid the good feelings because we forget how good it will feel. It’s kind of like when you know working out will boost your mood, and yet you still choose not to do it. (And by “you” I mean “me”!)

    What you said about extending the olive branch makes a lot of sense. I think we have more respect for ourselves when we make the effort.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I think it’s wonderful you offer your father forgiveness, even though he clearly does things that are frustrating and disheartening to see. I hope he eventually realizes the gift you give to him.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks so much Mark. =)

  • http://Mazzastick.com/ Justin Mazza

    This whole idea of waiting to do something has been on my mind lately.I notice in myself that I need to feel a certain way before I take action. I need to go back to my old motto of “Just do it.” Take care.

  • Raydiode

    I have no problem telling people that I love them, in fact I’m quite open with my feelings and proud of myself in that way, what I have noticed is that some people that you express affection, love and appreciation for are themselves not ready to receive it, or think they don’t deserve it, or generally look at me quite strangely..

  • http://halinagoldstein.com/blog halinagold

    I’ve had this weird and amazing experience a few weeks ago: I dreamt that I was going to die on that day. The dream was so convincing that I just couldn’t tell whether it would be a symbolic death or an actual one. So I lived that day with a very vivid awareness of it possibly being the last day of my life. I didn’t change the course of the day – but I lived it with greater presence than ever – and certainly didn’t wait. I’m still here as you can see – and it was an amazing experience. Because really, every day is the last one but we live it as if we get to repeat it.

    Anyhow, as days went by, the experience has become more and more distant, overshadowed by old habits. You just brought it back to me. I’m touched. Thank you, Lori!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Halina! I’ve had that experience before as well–not because of a dream, but because some days I am far more aware of my own mortality. It almost feels like a rebirth to suddenly see the moment through clear eyes, fully aware of just how precious it is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1264431034 Robert Sieger

    There are so many things we wait for in life – and we really don’t need too! Your article was touching and very true! Thank you! I myself was holding so much back – including finally getting a business going – I was letting others tell me I couldn’t! So now I have and I make sure my employees know each and every day just how much I value and appreciate them! I thank them every day for their efforts! I want them to know just how important they are to me! My family as well – they mean the world to me and they are the reason I work so hard. Thank you for all of your insights!

  • Lv2terp

    Fantastic reminder!! Thank you for this post Lori! :)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome!