Never waste time waiting

Dear Readers,

Several years ago, when I first returned to The Bahamas, I was often called upon to conduct workshops on “Stress Management.” In fact, this request had become so popular, I used to tell my colleagues, I was stressed out by stress. Stress is indeed a timely concept for these days and times. This demand led me to compose my famous list of 10 Bahamian stressors; the second item on the list states, “Never waste time waiting.”

In speaking with some people, they live their lives waiting for the right time to do things. I hear statements such as, “I would have had a home if I was married, or I will start dating, as soon as my children go away to college.” Other classic statements include, “I only use that crystal vase on special occasions, or I am saving that negligee for my honeymoon night.” The emphasis is always placed on tomorrow; well, what if tomorrow never comes? This reminds me of the story of the elderly lady who had two chests of beautiful, expensive underwear that were discovered upon her death. This came as a shock to neighbours who only saw old tattered and torn ones hanging on the clothes line. She too, was waiting for the right season.

In her highly acclaimed book, Everyone has something, Robin Roberts of Good Morning America, pens her journey through a bone marrow transplant and discusses how that experience gave her a new outlook on life. She talks about everyone in life having a cross to bear. While hers was cancer, someone else’s may be an eating disorder, a wayward child, an abusive spouse, a mental disorder, a spending habit, or even a low self esteem; everyone has something of concern. The key to surviving is to accept your plight, deal with it and live. In other words, Roberts accepted her diagnosis of cancer, but she did not sit there and wait to die; she lives.

The Bible tells us that Jesus came to give us abundant life. It is however, up to us to determine how to live it. While planning for tomorrow is wise, living for today is wiser. Every breath taken in ought to provide an opportunity to celebrate, doing the things we enjoy; things that bring us laughter and draw out the best in us. Our attention should be inwardly turned to inspect the nature of our hearts. Upon examination, if we do not like what we see, we must seek effective methods to correct the folly. Then, turn our attention outward, to ensure that we are our brother’s keeper.

Therefore, when you are literally waiting (like in a doctor’s office), don’t sit there and allow time to go idly by; write your grocery list, pull out a romance novel or magazine, or sit and read the daily postings on Facebook. While you are waiting on life, don’t sit there and let it pass you by; pamper yourself with a day at the spa, take a day off from work and spend it at the beach, cash in some stocks and bonds and take a trip, throw a spontaneous, disorganized potluck and invite family and friends to dine. Live a lot!!

By the way, there are two standard rules in my house; we never eat from paper servings and no room in the house is off limits to my family. Incidentally, my children drink Kool-Aid from my heavy, expensive, Mikasa crystal glasses.
~ Dr. Pam

Point to Ponder: Don’t offer a plate from which you haven’t eaten, to a stranger.

• Doctor Pam is an advice column that is featured every week. Your letters and comments are encouraged. You may send them to Dr. Pam is a Clinical Psychologist trained in all major areas of mental health.

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