OPINION

THE SIMPLE LIFE: The Afters and What Ifs

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
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Trish Morgan

By Trish Morgan

For the News Tribune

Where have I been, you ask? I'd love to say I took an extended vacation to the cliffs of Maine - overlooking the winter-wild Atlantic Ocean - holed up in the sweetest, most beautiful Victorian cottage, catching up on my favorite novels. Or, I would just love to tell you that I jumped in my car with as little luggage as possible, and escaped south to a nice rustic cabin in the woods. There, I would have found such solace in the simple things like quilts and a fireplace, books, a rocking chair on the porch, a clawfoot tub, a country kitchen, braided rugs on the wooden slat floors, and fresh-fallen snow.

Instead, I've been here - bogged down with life's expectations and demands - trying to maneuver the many roads in my life to more simple wanderings.

I continue on the journey I started over five years ago, and it truly does my mind no good to look back on it. Yet somehow, it seems that rear view mirror is spellbinding, captivating. It's so easy to look back, reflect on accomplishments, setbacks, failures and collateral damage. All of that holds such power over me.

A rollercoaster movie - you know, the kind where you watch the ride on the screen and it's as if you are in the front seat of the coaster. We KNOW all we have to do is close our eyes and the ride is not there, but we can't help but to keep them open and experience the ups and downs, the rounded curves, the slow inclines and breath-catching drops.

Life is like that, for me at least.

Over this last month, my thoughts and writings have leaned toward the things in my life that just didn't go as planned. The dreams and wishes that wilted on the vine; the hopes of love and promises so long ago that drifted skyward like wisps of smoke in the air; the little girl Trish who had such enthusiasm and plans for a big future filled with all of the things she longed to be, and to have.

And, when I blink my eyes - here I am, 62 years old. Six decades have come and gone, and I think to myself, "Where did all of that time go? What have I done to make a difference?" Taking a full account of one's entire life is never easy, is it? It's not easy when we are faced with the many things we could have done, would have done, SHOULD have done.

The "if only" I had been stronger, braver - things may have been different. The "if only" I had gone here or done that. The "if only" I had loved more, cried less. The "after" I get my homework done or the "after" I rest a little. The "after" we go on this vacation, we can talk about it.

The list is endless, really. It hurts the heart, it lays bare the waste, it encompasses the most vulnerable of us all. These days, I find myself digging my way up out of this hole - trying to make sense of all of the mistakes I have made all throughout my life. Trying to understand my imperfections and my weaknesses - knowing full well that God is right here beside me, loving me regardless.

I read the following post on Facebook last week, and although I don't take credit for the words, I found it quite profound. It make me stop, think, cry a little, and pray.

And, it helped me realize that my "afters,” my "until thens,” my "what ifs" - I have to let them go. Same with my rear view mirror. There's nothing there for me but loss and heartache. And lessons.

Barely the day started and... it's already six in the evening.

Barely arrived on Monday and it is already Friday.

... and the month is already over.

... and the year is almost over.

... and already 40, 50 or 60 years of our lives have passed.

... and we realize that we lost our parents, friends.

and we realize it's too late to go back...

So... Let's try, despite everything, to enjoy the remaining time...

Let's keep looking for activities that we like...

Let's put some color in our grey...

Let's smile at the little things in life that put balm in our hearts.

And despite everything, we must continue to enjoy with serenity this time we have left. Let's try to eliminate the afters...

I'm doing it after...

I'll say after...

I'll think about it after...

We leave everything for later like ′′ after ′′ is ours.

Because what we don't understand is that:

Afterwards, the coffee gets cold...

afterwards, priorities change...

Afterwards, the charm is broken...

afterwards, health passes...

Afterwards, the kids grow up...

Afterwards parents get old...

Afterwards, promises are forgotten...

afterwards, the day becomes the night...

afterwards life ends...

And then it's often too late....

So... Let's leave nothing for later...

Because still waiting to until later, we can lose the best moments,

the best experiences,

best friends,

the best family...

The day is today... The moment is now...

Many of us are no longer at the age where we can afford to postpone what needs to be done right away.

So let's see if you have time to read this message and then share it.

Or maybe you'll leave it for... ′′ later "...

And you'll never share it....

Author Unknown

No "until next week,” but my hope is to see you next week, right here my friends. Leave a little sparkle wherever you go.