On Tuesday this week, as we enjoyed some roast meat to welcome 2019 with the family, I told my elder brother, (pointedly looking at his not flat tummy), that both of us should make 2019 the year that we become fit and trim.
To achieve that, I continued, starting January 2, we could not afford to eat like we were eating.
“Let’s go easy on the meat this year and eat more vegetables and fruits,” I said sagely, only for him to burst out laughing as if I had just told the funniest joke he had heard in a long time.
He went on to remind me that we only live once, so he would not deny himself what he enjoyed because he had no idea what tomorrow held in store for him.
Resigned to the fact that I was on this weight loss journey alone, I reached for the kachumbari instead of another juicy goat rib.
Later that evening, my brother forwarded me a Bible verse that has been doing the rounds on WhatsApp.
You’ve probably come across it, it’s from Ecclesiastes Chapter Nine and is titled: Enjoy Life While You Can.
It reads, “So go eat your food and enjoy it. Drink your wine and be happy. It is right with God if you do this. Put on nice clothes and make yourself look good. Enjoy life with the wife you love. Enjoy all the days of this short life God has given you here on earth. It is all you have. So enjoy the work you do, do your best. This is because you are going to the grave. There is no working, no planning, no knowledge and no wisdom there.”
Such a blunt verse. It got me thinking. It got me thinking about how many of us are usually busy living for tomorrow while totally ignoring today.
We deny ourselves an enjoyable today because we want to save for tomorrow, for retirement, yet there is no guarantee that we will live long enough to reach retirement age.
And so we save every penny we make instead of using it to buy ourselves comfort, we buy yet another piece of land or put up another flat instead of going for a holiday with our families or eating well, or dressing well.
I am not saying that we should stuff ourselves with the rich food around us with careless abandon because we don’t know whether we will live to see tomorrow, or that we shouldn’t save for the future. All I am saying is that we should also embrace the small pleasures that come our way daily and welcome every chance we get to be happy and comfortable today, even as we think of tomorrow.
I am reminded of an elderly man I knew when I was growing up. He was filthy rich but you wouldn’t have known it by looking at him.
He wore old, discoloured clothes and battered shoes and drove an old pickup truck which he would leave parked at home whenever he needed to travel to the city because he wanted to save fuel.
He lived in squalor, and so did his wife and children, who despised him for it. When he passed away, he left behind a huge fortune which, unfortunately, his sons, as if to spite their dead father for decades of negligence, squandered in three short years on alcohol and the good life that comes with it.
DENIED HIMSELF A GOOD LIFE
This man denied himself today as he slaved for a tomorrow that he never lived to see.
There is this picture I saw once, one of an old couple taking a boat ride in one of the canals in France.
The scenery was breathtaking, the kind that makes you wistful, the kind that you want to feast your eyes on for hours and hours.
The old couple was definitely enjoying themselves, weren’t they?
You would think so, but they were in fact fast asleep, mouths open, overcome with sleep and exhaustion and old age. All that beauty gone to waste. Underneath that photo was a caption that read: “Don’t wait to go on holiday when you retire.”
Need I say more?