How many times in your life have you caught yourself saying the phrase “there’s always next time.” This phrase is probably so common in your vocabulary that you don’t even realize how often you are saying it anymore. I know I say it more than I would like to admit; however, now that I realize how often I say it, I am striving to make a change. I encourage you all to do the same.
It is pretty easy to tell your family, friends, or significant other that, “there’s always next time,” when it comes to responding to plans they want to make with you. For instance, both of my younger brothers play hockey, and the amount of times I have said, “Oh I’ll go to their game next time,” is absolutely absurd. Although the thought of getting into a cold arena and listening to parents argue over the bad calls the ref made is not necessarily ideal, being there and supporting them is the right thing to do. None of us know (unless someone here is psychic) if something is going to happen to one of our siblings, ourselves, or even another family member. If something tragic were to happen, going to watch their games would never be the same. Personally, I know I would never forgive myself if I had said I would go another time, but never got that opportunity.
It also might be something as simple as visiting a grandparent. It is evident that they are older, and their quality of life is starting to decrease, so why not spend as much time with them as you can? I can assure you that nothing would brighten their day more than a quick 15-minute visit from you. Sit with them, ask them about their childhood, or even talk about the weather (I always end up talking about the weather with my grandfather). These simple conversations will make them so happy, as they know that they have people who still care about them and who want to spend time with them. For those of us who are away at school, even a phone call to tell them you love them will make all the difference in making their day that much better. You can tell yourself that there is always next time for you to call or visit them, but when they reach a certain age in their lives you truly don’t know when the next time could turn into the last time, so why risk that?
There are so many things that could happen that could change your life in the snap of a finger. You never know what idiot will get behind the wheel of their car drunk, what friend may accidentally take too many pills, or what health issues may arise within your family, but all of these could be contributing factors to one’s death. They are sudden, and come without warning. Imagine you blew off your friend for lunch last week because you didn’t feel like socializing that day, and the next thing you know, you find out they were killed because of a drunk driver. It’s harsh, I know. But the point I’m trying to get across is the fact that when you decided to cancel on lunch because you weren’t feeling it that day, that was the last time you were going to see that person. I’m sure when you cancelled, the last thing that went through your mind wasn’t that it was going to be your last time ever seeing them; however, like I’ve been saying, you never know when the next time seeing someone will be. So regardless of what it is, get out of bed, freshen up, and go for lunch/coffee/whatever it may be with your friends. The chances of something happening to them are slim, but if something did happen and you bailed on that lunch date, that is a grudge you will hold against yourself for a very long time, and a consequence you will have to deal with.
A very sad situation occurred when three young children and their grandfather were all killed in a car accident, one that sadly was caused by a drunk driver. Do you think that when their mom and dad kissed them goodbye and told them to have a good day with their grandparents that they thought that that would be the last time they saw their children? Absolutely not. However, there are very stupid people out there who make irrational decisions, and this leads to deaths —ones which would have never been imagined in a million years by those parents. My reason for telling this story is the fact that events happen, and you truly have to enjoy every minute you can with family and friends; you can never take anyone for granted.
STOP using the phrase, “there’s always next time.” STOP cancelling plans with your friends and family. STOP taking life for granted, and START enjoying it. Whether it’s going to the mall with your sister, going to a sibling’s sporting event, breakfast with your parents, lunch with a friend, or visiting your grandparents, make sure you do these things and STOP cancelling. It is okay to reschedule plans if you aren’t feeling well, or really can’t attend something, but if you can go but are just “not in the mood” that day, suck it up and go. It will be worth it in the long run because spending time with the people you love is a memory that you can cherish forever, and is something you can look back on when you’re older.