My step-father could best be described as a grumpy old man. He was a World War II veteran having served in Europe as a bombardier on a B17. He was an opinionated man who was stuck in a bygone era. He liked Manhattans and martinis. He didn’t like animals or little kids. He refused to wear the jeans that my mother bought him and chose to wear old suit pants to work in the yard.
But for all his faults, he had one philosophy that I could understand and embrace. After my mother passed away and his own health started to decline, he started to realize that there were things that he could no longer do. He would listen to me talk about what I wanted to do in life. It was during those conversations that he would look at me and repeat the same advice: “Do it now, kid. Do it now.” He knew that time was running out for all of us. If I wanted to do something, I needed to get hopping.
This week I remembered my step-father’s advice. For the second time this year, I lost a beloved dog. I collected my favorite photos of her and put together a slideshow to music as a tribute to the sweetest creature I have ever had the privilege to know. The slideshow included a photo that I took last April. It is an up-close photo of her eyes. She had beautiful eyes. I had wanted to take that photo for a long time but for some reason just never took the time to do it. I only took that photo because people commented on a creepy photo I posted of a mosaic of human eyes from a New York City subway station. I replaced the creepy eyes with the prettiest eyes that I knew, those of my beloved dog, Meri.
Looking at that photo the other day, I realized that, had I not received complaints about creepy eyes, I never would have taken a photo of the pretty ones. Who knew that a few months later my dear dog would be gone? It underscored the lesson that my step-father was trying to teach me.
Maybe you have something that you have been planning to do. An old friend you want to reconnect with. Some place that you have wanted to visit since you were a kid. A skill that you want to master. Whatever it is, take my step-father’s advice – Do it now, kid. Do it now.