In the book I'm currently editing, there is a letter written from a father to a daughter telling her to pursue her dreams and what makes her happy because life is too short to not. It's advice that we often give to ourselves but rarely take.
People spout of lately about YOLO (thanks, Drake), you only live once. Which before that was embodied in Carpe Diem. Live for the moment. I could go on. Last night at my full-time gig, I encountered a retiree who explained that's what she was doing. she was in her 60's, had worked her whole life, and truly knew what it meant at that stage to live for the moment. Her and her husband had an arrangement where it wasn't a big deal if they weren't around for days at a time, they were just happy to see each other when they did.
I came to the realization that we say it a lot, to live for the moment, but we never do. We're too young to live for the moment in our 20's and early 30's, so we live for the future. Most of us have kids by our mid 30's and don't have time to live for the moment, so we live for their future. Living for the moment, IN the moment, comes as a result of having made it to the future and ensured that of your children. It is an expression of freedom, and quite frankly, until we don't have to worry about a mortgage anymore, about tuition anymore, about the responsibilities of day-to-day, we aren't truly free. Every endeavor we make is about chasing that freedom. We dream of the life we would have, free from the constraints of work and bill-payment. We fantasize about fancy cars in our youth, or travel as we age. We chase freedom.
The tragedy is that we don't truly live once until we've lived for some time. The work-a-day life isn't living. Paycheck-to-paycheck isn't living. And as the best advice I ever got states, life is more than mere survival.