A friend of mine opened his wife’s underwear drawer and picked up a silk paper wrapped package.  “This,” he said, “isn’t any ordinary package.”  He unwrapped the box and stared at both the silk paper and the box.  “She got this the first time we went to New York City on a vacation, about 8 or 9 years ago.  She had never put it on and was saving it for a special occasion.  Well, I guess this is it.”  He got near the bed and placed the gift box next to the other clothing he was taking to the funeral home, as his wife had just died.

He turned to me and said, “Never save something for a special occasion.  Every day in your life is a special occasion.”

I still think those words changed my life.  Now I read more and clean less.  I sit on the porch without worrying about anything.  I spend more time with my family, and less at work.   I understand that life should be a source of experience to be lived up to, not survived through.  I no longer keep anything.  I use crystal glasses every day.  I’ll wear new clothes to go to the supermarket, if I feel like it.  The words, “Someday…” and “One day…” are fading away from my dictionary.  If it’s worth seeing, listening or doing, I want to see, listen, or do it now.  I don’t know what my friend’s wife would have done if she knew she wouldn’t be there the next morning, this nobody can tell.  I think she might have called her relatives and closest friends.  She might call old friends to make peace over past quarrels.  I’d like to think she would go out for Chinese, her favorite food.  It’s these small things that I would regret not doing.  If I knew my time had come.  I would regret it, because I would no longer see the friends I would meet, or letters…that I want to write “One of these days.”  I would regret and feel sad, because I didn’t say to my brother, son and daughter, son-in law, grandchildren, not times enough at least, how much I love them.

Now, I try not to delay, postpone or keep anything that could bring laughter and joy into our lives.  And, on each morning, I say to myself that this could be a special day.  Each day, each hour, each minute is special.

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