Carpe Diem! It’s a popular Latin phrase that literally means “seize the day!”
It is interesting to reflect on what you value at various stages of life. As an elementary school kid, I valued recess and candy. As a middle schooler, I valued popularity and Clearasil (this was my generation’s version of Proactive anti-acne cream). In high school, I valued athletics, grades, part-time jobs, and girls. In college, I valued new networks, global thinking, and my preparation for an exciting career. As a newlywed (24 years ago!), I valued stability, good credit scores, and payday.
Today, as man who is a few years shy of 50 years of age, what I endeavor to seize is much different. During my younger years I attempted to seize that which helped my success, popularity and comfort. And although I still have (or, suffer from) a healthy drive in life...what I am achieving is a means to an end rather than the desired end. For example, I still enjoy getting paid for the work I do, however, I am more concerned with how I leverage that pay to create memories via vacations with my teen daughter and/or aging mother. As I am invited all over the world to lecture, preach, or consult on various humanitarian issues, what I savor is the tremendous people I meet as well as the opportunity to bring others along with me.
Seizing the day ... or enjoying the moment ... is quickly becoming an intentional way of life for me. Today’s moment needs to be seized because it is so fleeting. My cousin and goddaughter Casaundra, who, just a few years ago was my pre-teen babysitter, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison last Sunday. My daughter, Lexi, who was just a preschooler, is now halfway through West High School. My mother, who has always been (and continues to be) a strong woman, seems to tire a little more quickly and ache a little more frequently than in years past. Seizing the important moments of our lives will determine how we finish our lives. So many of us have been taught that those who end their lives with the most “things” are the true winners. I don’t buy that or strive for that any longer. I think that the individuals who have seized great moments with those they love are the true winners in life.
Money and health come and go, unfortunately. Houses and cars are in constant need of repair. The economy is fickle and so is the workplace. And for many of us who just assumed that social security and 401K plans would always deliver, are shocked to learn that this is not necessarily a given. And whereas all these things bring comfort and a perhaps a degree of comfort ... they don’t complete our lives. I want to seize the days that I am given with great vigor and appreciation. Seizing a day for me looks like spending an entire evening cheering at my daughter’s track meet with my wife and family. Seizing the day also means running errands all day with my mother who still insists on giving me driving tips. Seizing the day means taking senior prom pictures of my niece, Alexandra, and preparing for her graduation in a few weeks. And seizing the moment means eating healthier, getting to the gym and staying close to God spiritually so that I can give the very best of myself to those I love most in this world.
The great equalizer in life is time. We are all blessed to have the same amount of moments today. Don’t let anyone else manage that commodity for you. Pause. Breathe. Pray. Hug. Love. Walk. Laugh. Connect. Seize! You’ll never get the chance to seize this moment again, however, you’ll have several chances to regret not seizing it if you don’t. Savor this moment and seize it!