My great grandpa Carl was quite the man. At the age of 14, he moved his family from Italy to the United States in order to have a better quality of life. After driving his family cross-country to move to a ranch in California, he worked tirelessly to help provide. Through his life, he met many incredible people and traveled to almost every country you can think of. He understood the value of hard work, but more importantly, understood that you need to live your life.
When I came into the world, we would travel up to Modesto to visit him and hear his wisdom. From being environmentally conscious to not being afraid to try new things, we learned so much from Grandpa Carl. The greatest piece of advice I have ever been given from him was this: don’t put off what you can do today for tomorrow.
As a ten year old, I didn’t understand the true depth of this notion. I always played outside or spent time with loved ones. However, as I have gotten older and life has become more chaotic, there have been periods of time where all I did was my work and missed out on events or day-trips that, looking back, I could have made time to go on. I now try everyday to embody this advice. I get it, there are times where you really need to buckle down in order to get the grade you want on an assignment or get caught up on your work. But once this starts transforming into months and years of only doing tasks that fulfill your job or school work duties, you will have missed the chance to do things that fulfill you.
For my grandpa, this was traveling. Each job he had, he would save up and then go see a new part of the world and meet new people. He told us about one of his friends who kept putting off traveling for his retirement because he couldn’t make the time to do it while he was working. One year before his retirement, this man died unexpectedly of a heart attack. By sharing this story with us, our Grandpa reinforced that you are not in control of your future and that you can’t plan on tomorrow. You must do things each day to make you happy and fulfilled. Whether that is traveling, going on walks, spending time with friends, working out, buying that bag you have been working hard for, or whatever it may be, we have to do these things in life because we can only count on today.
I am so grateful for my Grandpa Carl for sharing this advice with me. It has not only helped me live more in the moment, but it has allowed me to really appreciate each day. As far as we know, we only get one chance with our lives. We must take back the control and not put off what we can do today for tomorrow.