But What If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come?

karren-renz-sena-project-beautiful-words-blog“Bukas na lang,” I’d always say.
“Pwede pa bukas.”
“Unlimited naman ang chances.”
“Try again tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow is another day.”

These are the things I’d always tell myself whenever I failed at something — whenever I’d fail to begin,
fail to commit,
fail to continue,
fail to love,
fail to give,
fail to serve,
fail to try.

I’d beat myself up for each failure, yes, but after a thorough beating I’d always remind myself that we have an unlimited supply of tomorrows, and that the next tomorrow is a chance for me to try again.

It helps, sometimes. It helps pick up my spirit, and it helps me to look forward to another day. It also helps me to be more kind to myself, because the thought of having another chance, another “tomorrow” takes my mind away from negative thoughts — like discouragement and failure — and it takes my heart away from negative emotions. Like regret. Like shame.

The thought of “tomorrow” gives me hope, too. That things will be better. That I will be better.

And so I keep looking forward to a series of tomorrows.

But I failed to notice that looking forward to my tomorrows made me neglect my todays.

I became too lax, I guess, and I kept postponing things.

I’d rest today. I can work on this tomorrow.
I’ll just watch videos on Facebook now. I can write tomorrow.
I’d eat lechon kawali today. I’d eat healthy tomorrow.
Just one more chapter. I’ll sleep earlier tomorrow.
I’ll just hide in my room today. I’ll check up on my friends tomorrow.
Tomorrow, I’ll write my book.
Tomorrow, I’ll wake up earlier.
Tomorrow, I’ll visit the Blessed Sacrament.
Tomorrow, I’ll go to Confession.
Tomorrow, I’ll chase my dreams.

One day during my quiet time, a question suddenly came to mind: What if tomorrow doesn’t come anymore?

What if I only have until today?

Like, really, really, really have until today.

If today’s my last day, and for some inexplicable reason I’d have to die tonight, what do I have to show for myself?

I could honestly say that I’ve accomplished many things already.

Played a lot.
Learned a lot.
Graduated cum laude in college.
Maintained a 1.5 GWA in grad school (before I went AWOL ha ha).
Wrote a book and got published.
Helped other people write their book and get published.
Contributed to magazines.
Joined National Workshops for Creative Writing and Arts Criticism.
Discipled people.
Served in community.
Used my talent in writing to spread the love of God.
Loved my family and friends.
And a whole lot more.
(This is me being kind to myself. You have to be kind to yourself, too. Never ever ever take your value and your accomplishments for granted.)

But have I honestly done enough?

Have I written enough?
Have I served enough?
Have I loved enough?

If today’s my last day and you ask me what my biggest regret or failure in life is, I would have to say that it would be the things I could have done, but didn’t.

Stories I could have written.
Friends I could have made.
Places I could have visited.
Strangers I could have helped.
Relationships I could have built.
People I could have loved.

I don’t ever want to have to face death carrying all these regrets with me. I don’t ever want to have to face God and tell Him, “I could have, but I wasn’t able to.”

I want to be able to face Him and tell Him, “I did it. I’m okay to come home now.”

And I want to be able to face Him and hear Him say, “You did good, kid. Welcome home.”

To Be More, We have to Do More

karren-renz-sena-project-beautiful-words-tomorrowI have many other dreams and goals and plans. Big ones. Small ones. I still want to become an international bestselling author. I still want to coach people and help them write beautiful stories and impactful books. I still want to spend more time with my family. I still want to travel the world. I want to help more people, serve more people, love more people.

I want to be more.

So this means only one thing: I have to do more.

We have unlimited chances, yes, and unlimited graces from God. But we have to make use of all these within a limited number of days. Because honestly, our days our numbered and our lives have an untagged expiration date. Truth is, we don’t know when we’ll die.

So we have to do things to fulfill our unfulfilled dreams.

We have to give our 100% to every task we commit to.

We have to love the people we must love.

Today.

Here’s a list of a few things we can do to make today matter more:

1. Be more mindful.

What did you have for lunch today? How blue was the sky yesterday afternoon? How does the air smell after it rains? Does your mom’s eyes crinkle when she laughs?

Do you take notice of these things?

How do you breathe? Do you take long, deep breaths, or short, shallow pants?

How do you chew your food? Do you chew three times then swallow, or do you chew until the all the flavors burst out of the food and into your mouth?

Do you take notice of these things?

Where are you now? Like literally, and then in life? How far are you now from where you started when you decided to reach for that particular goal? What do you do every day to get closer to that goal?

Do you take notice of these things?

Do you take notice of YOU?

1. Take a moment.

We go through life too fast, but we experience too little. So many people are rushing so many things all at once. The moment we wake up, we go through a series of routinary motions that, over time, start to mean so little.

Have you ever taken a moment for what it’s worth?

One moment could be worth a thousand reasons to be joyful.

That moment you got your promotion.
That moment you wrote, “The End.”
That moment he first smiled at you.
That moment she said “Yes.”
That moment your mom said, “I’m proud of you.”

Have you ever taken a moment?

3. Do it now. Do it well. Do it again.

Whatever you want to do, if there’s nothing at all keeping you from doing it, do it now.

Not tomorrow. Not later. Now.

Write that book now.

Tell that person you love them now.

Tell your parents “thank you” now.

Apply for that job now.

Start that blog now.

Shoot that vlog now.

What’s keeping you from doing things that would make you happy?

What’s keeping you from doing things that would get you one step closer to your goal?

What’s keeping you from telling that person how much you love them?

Think about these things. Reflect on them. Maybe there’s a reason that keeps you from moving, from acting, from doing. And you can’t just ignore those reasons. You have to acknowledge them, you have to validate them.

So you can overcome.

And once you do overcome, whatever you’re doing, do it well.

Do it excellently.

And do it again.

One step at a time. One after another. Until you get there.

Until you become.

So that when the day comes that tomorrow wouldn’t come anymore, you get to say, “That’s alright. I did it all.”

Write beautiful words,
Karren

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