The best piece of advice I was given was from a taxi driver while my family and I were vacationing in the Bahamas. I had just started my job with the city, money was super tight, but we had this trip planned a year in advance and were not canceling it.
Sean and I were married on Atlantis Beach at Paradise Island on May 13, 2004, with 10 of our closest family and friends present. We decided it was time to take a trip back with our kiddos to show them our wedding spot, which had drastically changed. No longer the private Pirate Beach Cove, it was now lined with rows of blue and white striped lounge chairs, high rise hotel buildings shading the sun, and people sunbathing and swimming in the crystal-blue waters.
Quite a difference 14 years makes. I had to giggle when my daughter Ellie asked with total innocence why she and Caleb were not invited to our wedding. That’s a story for another time way out into the future.
Even though we were vacationing in a very expensive paradise, we kept our costs as low as we could. We brought our own food there, snuck in mini bottles to Atlantis’ waterpark to pour into our $15 virgin Pina Coladas and used our airline points to travel there. It was the Bahamas on a budget, especially after seeing a 12-pack of water cost $20+. The rum was cheaper to drink. If only I liked rum.
There was one activity Caleb and Ellie really wanted to do – the only thing they both asked for was to swim with the dolphins.
Sean researched it online, shared with me the crazy extreme price tag for our family of four to do the excursion and I told him I didn’t need to do this to save money and would sit it out. I’d rather let him and the kids enjoy it together.
When we arrived in the Bahamas, we struck up a conversation with our taxi driver and he offered up this sound piece of advice.
“You must live life for today for tomorrow is never promised.”
Bahamas sales pitch, maybe?
Whatever it was, his words stayed with me throughout our time there and even after. As Sean and I figured out what day he and the kids should swim with the dolphins, I started to have a massive change of heart.
My kiddos would never be this age again. We were never going to return to the Bahamas, at least not in the near future, and we may never get the opportunity to swim together with the dolphins as a family.
Days go by. Kids get older and drift away. And as the taxi driver put it so honestly and eloquently, tomorrow is never promised.
I had experienced this so many times in the last five years with friends, not much older than me, who had passed suddenly due to cancer or fluke freak accidents leaving their family and friends behind.
I was not going to let a little thing called money get in the way of enjoying these once-in-a-lifetime experiences with my family.
And so, I didn’t sit on the sidelines and watch. I jumped in the water with my kiddos and Sean and we swam with the dolphins (this is Mickey smiling) on this beautiful July summer day in the sun making memories and enjoying our time together.
We can fret about money and our lack of it.
What we have, what we don’t.
What “stuff” will make us happy.
But at the end of our borrowed time on earth, will we have regrets because we should’ve, could’ve, would’ve done something?
Or, know that we got to experience all that life has to offer when it was present right here, right now in front of us?
The choice is yours.
Rule of Life Lesson #95:
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