“Good things come to those who wait, but not for those who wait too late..”
Let’s face it. Our world is some kind of messed up right now. We’ve got hurricanes coming at us from all angles. Wildfires burning out of control. Mass shootings. Innocent lives being destroyed. Racial divides. Patriotic divides. The brink of war. Politics? Don’t even get me started.
I was recently blessed to go on an extended visit to witness the the vivid greenness Ireland. We met so many colorful, full of life personalities along the way and it got me to thinking:
Regardless of where we’re from, most of us want the same things in life: Happiness. Love. Health. The ability to care for our families. Friendship. Safety. Peace. But for some of us, happiness has taken a back seat to our everyday stress and ambition.
Way down in the small southwest towns located along the spectacular drive of the Ring of Kerry in Ireland, we stopped at one too many pubs for a much-needed pint. (Of course we did!) It wasn’t so much the character of the pubs with their dusty shelves, original stone floors and wood carvings that date back hundreds of years in some cases that struck me the most. No, it was the merry gents sitting at the bar carrying on the tradition that dated almost as far back as the floors upon which they stood.
You see, there it is a rich tradition that the men head to the pubs after a long day at work for a creamy pint of Guinness (or two… or three…). Some of these men have been frequenting these pubs for generations. They are best buds. Confidants. Rivals. They care for one another in bad times and are more than willing to celebrate the good. The deep lines that have been etched in their faces tell the stories of hard work, full sun, plenty of laughter and song.
I studied them closely wanting to read their lives. If only we could have stayed longer to hear each of their stories… But deep down, I felt I already knew them. The naughty twinkle in their eyes when they huddled together laughing, the roar of the crowd when their team scored a field goal told me everything I needed to know.
How could it be that I felt a twinge of jealousy? I lead a very blessed, full, privileged life. But somehow I did. The pure simplicity of their existence gave me great pause for thought. On more than one occasion I laid in bed at night evaluating my own life.
Now back home I find myself still thinking about the people we met and observed. And it hit me.
These complete strangers had found the secret to happiness. It wasn’t found in the hustle and bustle of trying to achieve the corner office, making astronomical amounts of money, buying the finest leather chair for the living room. No, for these fine gents, the chair they have is fine enough. They are not chasing unrealistic dreams, killing themselves to claw their way to the top to have their names shot through the stratosphere in lights. They just want to earn a decent wage, love and care for their families, drink a few pints along with a few laughs (and feuds) with their buds at the end of the day, practice their faith and watch the game. That’s it.
It isn’t complicated or dramatic. And in my eyes, it made them very rich men indeed.
These old school Irish gentlemen appear to have stumbled upon the simple secrets of times gone by. They seem to be perfectly okay with the phrase… We live, We work, We play, We argue, We laugh, We love, We die. They’re not interested in legacies, titles or estates to leave behind. They just want to be. Be in the moment. Be with their friends and families. Be happy.
How great is THAT?
Perhaps I speak only for myself but maybe the reason we have so many people on anxiety meds these days is because we have over-complicated our lives? We have been culturally conditioned that we are utter failures if we don’t have a college degree. Our ego’s cannot fathom leaving this mortal world without somehow becoming socially immortal, as if without our shiny, glittery footprint in the sand left behind, the world will cease to exist as we know it. Maybe the real truth is we’re just not as important as we think we are? Maybe, just maybe we were created to live our lives and to just be?
The truth is, life is terribly short. And it’s unpredictable as well which makes it even more precious. So what is it that’s so vital that’s worth killing ourselves for? Is it fame? Fortune? Our names in lights? The big house? Our bank account balance? Bragging rights among the social circles of trust for our successes?
What if I told you that you had only six months left to live? What then? Would you continue to stay late at the office, away from your family and friends to finish the never-ending stack of reports sitting on your desk? Would you still order the dry, kale salad with no dressing and a bottle of water for lunch? And would you really give a rat’s ass about sunscreen?
Would you choose to be like the rustic, cheery lads of Ireland and just be. Well I have pondered this question these last few days and I have decided I want the freaking slice of cake. I want to never eat kale for as long as I live and from now on, when I eat salad, I will drown it in ranch dressing… just because I can. I will take the trip. Even if I can’t afford it and it sounds like a really, really bad idea financially… somehow, I will find a way to jet off to a new adventure at least, once… no, twice a year. And no more sunscreen. I want people to see the deep lines in my face and think to themselves, “Wow, she looks like she’s lived life…hard.” I want them to be envious of the laugh lines that outline my eyes and secretly wish they were me.
And when the grim reaper finally does come for me, I hope he is brave enough to tap me on the shoulder and say, “Okay lass, you’re broke, you’re body cannot take another pizza, your friends have heard all of your jokes and your liver is on life support from too many martini’s. You’ve given it a good go…time to give someone else a turn.”
The Irish have it right. We should all be so lucky to belong to the Pub Club where people are content to just be.
Stop waiting for tomorrow…because the truth is, tomorrow may not be waiting for you.
Old Irish Proverb:
“May you live to be a 100 years old, with one extra year to repent!”
Cheers to being naughty lads and lasses until you hear, “LAST CALL!”
As always God bless!
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