Why We Shouldn’t Wait to Prioritize Happiness

“We waste so many days waiting for the weekend. So many nights waiting for the morning . Our lust for future comfort is the biggest thief of life.” – Joshua Glenn Clark

During my senior year of high school in 2011, my best friend lost her boyfriend. He was driving around with a friend and the car crashed. This 21-year-old man went through the window and suffered traumatic brain injury while in a coma. While he did eventually wake up, he was not the same person that he had been.

Recently, I went to visit this friend in South Carolina. We sat on the beach one night and reminisced on high school when she brought up this loss again for the first time in six years.

I began to think of all the things that her now ex-boyfriend would never get to do and what he might have done differently if he had known his fate that night.

Would he have loved her better? Would he have loved himself better? Would he have made amends with estranged friends and family members?

Then I got to thinking: People (and our relationships with them) are the most important component in life.

Think about it; when you’re on your death bed, what will you regret? I don’t think many people would respond, “I wish I spent an extra 25 hours at the office every week!”

No, we will instead regret not taking our moms out to more dinners. We will regret not going to enough baseball games with our dads. We will regret letting a potential love escape us because we are too busy focusing on work and every other distraction that life throws our way.

If all I had were today, I would regret not saying “I love you,” enough to the people who matter most to me. I would regret not being able to walk down the aisle and have my dad give me away at my wedding. I would regret not having my first dance with my husband and not being able to hold my first born child. I would regret the little league games I never got the chance to go to and the dance recitals and the anniversaries and the birthday parties and family vacations.

I wouldn’t miss not reaching the top of my career or the fancy painting that might hang above my bed. If my house were on fire and all of my clothes and material objects perished, all I would have left are my memories and my relationships. My parents would still love me and my friends would still be there for me.

So if those are the things that would be most important when tragedy strikes or your life comes to an end, why shouldn’t they be important now? Why should we devote all of our time to other things not nearly as important like work. And I’m not saying don’t strive for success, I’m simply saying that we shouldn’t live to work, but work to live.

Life waits for nobody. Cherish your relationships and ask yourself what you would regret if it were all of the sudden the end for you, because our time is finite and nothing is guaranteed regardless of how young or old you are. Make sure you remember what is important to you in life and then devote time to what you truly care about, because one day-whether it’s in five days or 50 years-it might be too late.


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