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Do it today.

My eyes were glued to the timely message hanging on a wall in a Tennessee gift shop:

Be sure what you're doing is worthwhile ...

You're trading a day of your life for it.

Dozens of times I've found myself muddling through life, wasting precious time. It's easy to procrastinate, even about things you like to do. "I'll wait until tomorrow" is overworked by many of us.

When I was young, I put off things I knew it would be better to tackle right away. Grandma would get frustrated and say, "Evelyn, even the road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Somehow, the tendency to be a dawdler became part of my emotional baggage and dogged my footsteps into adulthood. Tomorrow was always my comfort zone.

At times I look at my reflection and see my grandmother's face. I see the same hair, the same laugh lines, and the same determined jaw. But I also see in myself a bit of a lazy streak, something Grandma would have clucked over and rolled her eyes.

Grandma was only 4-feet 11-inches tall, but she was a dynamo who worked circles around the whole clan. Every morning she had dinner half cooked and the floors mopped before the chickens had one eye open. After an exhausting day, she was ready to go to bed with the chickens. She kept the same routine every day--work, work, work. She even ironed her cleaning rags.

I never dreamed there was anything Grandma left undone.

Shortly before she died, at age 93, she confided wistfully her only regret in life: "I hate that I never got around to learning to ride a bicycle. There was always something more important.

It was such a simple wish, yet unfulfilled.

I wanted to haul her out of that hospital bed and at least roll her around the block on my bicycle, but it was too late. I wish she would have let the work go, just once thrown caution to the wind and put her wish at the top of the priority list.

Maybe she wouldn't think I'm lazy after all, as I chase my own rainbows. Maybe she'd get a kick out of hearing about my whitewater rafting trip, or the whirlwind boat ride under Niagra Falls. Maybe she would approve of the hours I spend writing and reading for pleasure. Maybe she wouldn't notice the cobwebs in the corners and the dust balls under the beds.

In my daydreams, I see Grandma in heaven, riding a bicycle down Glory Avenue with her grinning guardian angel sitting on the handlebars. I'm racing after them yelling, "Way to go, Grandma!"

Life is short and fragile. Life is to be embraced. If it's important to you, regardless of how frivolous it may seem, it is worthwhile. Do it today!

Tomorrow is a gift, not a promise.

Evelyn Allison is a writer from Cleveland, N.C.

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Title Annotation:living in the present
Author:Allison, Evelyn
Publication:Grit
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Apr 28, 2002
Words:484
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