Today reminded me of how fragile life is. A week ago, one of my relatives, whom I hold dear to my heart called me, saying that she wanted to quickly catch up during her hour-long layover in town. However, work commitments occupied my time, so all I could say was, “Sorry, let’s see each other next time!” Little did I know, it would be our last conversation because a few hours later, she got into a tragic accident that left her unconscious and fighting for her life.
Everything can change drastically, in a blink of an eye, without warning, especially the most important aspects that make life worth living. It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life, particularly for millennials who constantly live and breathe their respective careers in hopes of reaching their life-long goals and dreams.
We spend most of our time tremendously consumed by bending over backwards to impress others with the superficial things we can’t stop flaunting on social media. We’re always at the top of our game, to the point where we neglect the simplest but most valuable things in life – family, friends, and our overall well-being.
I distinctly remember waiting impatiently for the day I’d graduate university, so I could finally pursue my childhood dream of building a life for myself far away from home and making a name for myself in the entertainment industry. I was young, adventurous, and ambitious, so I stopped at nothing to make it all happen. While I’m in the City of Angels living the life that I prayed for all these years, I’m underestimating the fact that the price that comes with my hard work is missing out on family trips and gatherings, sleepless nights with my best friends, and celebrating milestones with the people I want to share them with the most.
Most of us who are utterly committed to and faithful about the things we are most passionate about would go to the ends of the earth to achieve our dreams, even if that means leaving the people and home we’ve known our whole lives. While leaving the nest to embark on a journey to experience the world first-hand is imperative to our overall growth, it forces us to sacrifice the limited time we have with our loved ones.
It’s not the physical distance that separates people, but rather, the moment we start forgetting those people once we’re accustomed to our new normal. Daily, non-stop message exchanges become monthly, scheduling video calls becomes a chore, and planning vacations to spend time with family and friends is at the bottom of the list or next to impossible.
Oftentimes, there are instances in which we’d rather use our time obsessing over the number of likes, views, and interactions on our social media accounts instead of taking a few minutes of our time to check up on our parents, show appreciation to our grandparents, share our adventures with our friends, explore the great outdoors, and nourish ourselves with self-love and care. The disappointing part of this perspective is when we justify our actions by saying that we simply have busy schedules. Is anybody ever too busy? Are our dreams really worth losing people for?
We are so engrossed in our personal ambitions that we compromise our relationships with the people who matter most, including our relationships with ourselves. We ignore the fact that while we’re living our best lives, our parents are growing old miles away from us or are still working long, tireless hours to give us what we deserve, and yet, we still fall short of letting them know how much we love them. Sometimes, we even have the audacity to complain, disrespect, and refuse to forgive their shortcomings. Cut the crap, and stop making excuses.
When I moved miles away from the people and places I call home, I realized the importance of time and how others equate it with love. No matter how much work and life occupy my time, I ensure that I am greatly present in my loved ones’ lives in order to unceasingly remind them that they’re always with me wherever I go. That way, I know that nothing is left unsaid in case unforeseen, uncontrollable circumstances happen.
It doesn’t matter if you live on the other side of the world or if you’re a couple of blocks away from the people you love; what’s important is that you regularly spend a few minutes of your time to ask them about their day and let them know that your life is better because they’re in it. Sometimes, just giving your time and being emotionally present speak volumes. It is the most powerful way to save a person that needs saving. Don’t wait until it’s too late to speak what’s in your heart, or you’ll spend the rest of your life living in regrets.
Putting both yourself and your loved ones first, before your career or commitments, is undoubtedly the most rewarding and fulfilling honor you’ll ever have throughout your life’s journey.