I came across a quote today that hit me really hard: “It’s scary that one day we’re going to have to live without our mother or father or brother or husband or wife. Or that one day we’re going to have to walk this earth without our best friend by our side, or them without us. Appreciate your loved ones while you can, because none of us are going to be here forever.” I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in the day to day nonsense that we forget the big picture. You might be frustrated with your spouse today because they are nagging you for leaving a bunch of dirty dishes in the sink. You might be annoyed by your sibling because they made a rude joke about you at a family party. You might be angry with your parents for giving you unsolicited advice. But at the end of the day we need to stop and think about how lucky we are to still have those people in our lives. We aren’t guaranteed a single minute. Any day now you or someone you love could be diagnosed with a terminal illness, a natural disaster could strike, or some other horrible accident could occur, and do you want to be looking back regretting all the time you wasted complaining and avoiding the ones you loved?

I remember many times throughout my marriage when I would be lying in bed or sitting in the passenger seat of the car and I would look at my husband and realize that we had a limited amount of time together. When you are truly, madly, deeply in love it is scary to think that there will come a day when that side of the bed or seat in the car will be empty; when you won’t be able to run into your loved one’s arms when you need comforting. Anything less than eternity isn’t long enough when you’re with the love of your life. I would constantly do the math, “Well if we are 24 and if we live to 100 that would give us 76 more years together.” And after doing that math I would recognize the slim chance of us both making it to 100 and I would feel a rush of sadness and I would squeeze his hand. I want to be the happy person celebrating a 50th or 75th anniversary; I don’t want to waste a single minute!

So many people are afraid to let go of their youth. They are partying well into their 20s or even 30s, refusing to settle down, determined to get in as much “action” as possible, but what they don’t realize is that one day they may be lying in bed next to someone they love counting the years they might have left together, and that number will just keep getting smaller and smaller as time goes on. The longer you wait to appreciate the people you have in your life the less special memories you will be able to make together. Don’t wait until 10 years from now to realize how much you care about someone that could be gone tomorrow. Grab their arm and hold them tight, and forget about the dirty dishes and the bad jokes and the silly advice.