My late mother used to say, “Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.” Many years ago, Magnus used to have a restroom in our office on which we wrote graffiti. We had colored markers and we invited people to write positive, uplifting messages on the bathroom walls whenever they had a creative urge. On one of the numerous occasions when Mom visited our office, I asked her if she would like to write something on our graffiti walls. Unhesitatingly, she said, “Yes, of course!” then she wrote the above message on our wall. I had heard her say this many times, but seeing her write it, big and in a bold color, made me think about the meaning of this advice in a way I had never before considered it. In fact, for a long time, I never knew Mom’s saying originated as a song titled, “Enjoy Yourself,” published in 1949, written by Carl Sigman and Herb Magidson, and recorded by numerous artists, such as Guy Lombardo, Bing Crosby, and Doris Day. The premise of the song is that we should have fun, do things we want to do, now, before it’s too late. That’s exactly what Mom taught me to do and the reason why I try to have as much fun as I can possibly have now, right now. David and I have been criticized by some of our well meaning, but financially conservative, friends and advisors, for taking “so many” trips or attending “so many” concerts. My response to this criticism is that I was brought up by parents who didn’t have a lot of money, but who spent as much money as they could afford going on vacations and generally speaking, having fun. When I tell people we regularly drove from Fort Myers to Miami Beach, just to eat lunch at the famous Wolfie’s, they are astounded! Why go all the way to Miami Beach for lunch when there were restaurants in Fort Myers? The answer is, of course, because it was way more fun! I have been to “so many” places, attended “so many” concerts, and had “so much” fun because I am enjoying myself now, while I can, instead of waiting for the perfect time when I have more time, or more money, but perhaps, no ability, to enjoy myself. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me this valuable life lesson!
I think another way this concept is captured in a phrase is “you only live once” – YOLO. Whether YOLO or going with Leola’s phrase, the point is to live life while the living is fun. There are those who save for retirement, or some target age, and may not be in good enough health to enjoy life when they get there. The key to “Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think” is balance. Melissa and I do not, by any means, attend all the concerts we could – in south Florida, there isn’t enough time to work and to do that. Maxing out on anything, travel, food, wine, or any kind of fun, isn’t the point. And, we certainly don’t have the energy or resources to burn ourselves out having maximum fun. The point is, life sneaks up on you and sometimes catches you off guard. So, rather than wait for some milestone, have fun when you can get it. That makes more sense, to us at least. I guess that is why we’re compatible on this point. As it happens, instead, our life has few gaps – when we see a gap we fill it with something fun or interesting. Sure there are weekends like the one just passed which included lots of domestic errands (Costco on Saturday is certainly not a YOLO fun item!). And, spending ½ of a weekend traveling to reach a client’s trial location isn’t fun either. But, coming up we have an open day so we will go see a Clyde Butcher exhibit, something which involves a trip to the Everglades – always a double treat for me – Clyde + the Glades. So, don’t wait; do it now. It’s later than you think.