The Ride of Your Life Doesn’t  Start Somewhere Down the Road

Are you putting your life on hold and waiting for the “right time” to enjoy it?

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow! What a Ride!

~Hunter S. Thompson

One of my most vivid memories as a kid growing up in the 1950s pertains to the sofa in the family room of our home. The reason I remember this particular sofa so well is that my mom covered it with a custom-fitted, clear piece of clear vinyl plastic, just like so many people did in that era. In the summertime, I would perspire profusely and whenever I sat on the sofa in shorts and a shirt my skin would stick to the plastic as if it was glued there-it was torture each time I would move or get up from the sofa. My mom’s logic was that this was an expensive sofa so she was preserving it for greater longevity and enjoyment somewhere down the road and for years to come. Longevity maybe–enjoyment . . . umm, not so much. I don’t know where that sofa eventually ended up but I am quite sure some of my hide is still firmly adhered to it.

That sofa experience serves as a perfect metaphor for how many of us live our lives. Perhaps it’s just human nature to put off fully enjoying the moment and whatever it entails until we arrive at that etheric place called “somewhere down the road” where and when the time will be more appropriate to enjoy the experience. I am not talking about spending money we don’t have or doing perilous and unintelligent things with our possessions and/or our bodies. I am talking about living in the richness that each day offers in a manner that allows us to experience the abundant blessings of being alive today rather than postponing it until further notice somewhere down the road.

The reality check for me is this: the older I grow, the more I know this moment is as good as it gets because it’s the only moment I have.

So why not live in it as deeply and richly as I can? While this topic is not just about the wisdom with which we use our financial resources, I’ve known more than one person who postponed enjoying the fruits of his labor, squirreling away every penny he earned, saving it for a rainy day. This is not an indictment of saving wisely–it’s an indictment of saving fearfully in a manner that robs us of what joy the moment might bring if we only allow ourselves to be open to it. (NOTE: If you would like to explore this idea further I invite you to read my latest book, The Art of Abundance.)

Recently, I saw a 40-foot motorhome with a fancy boat in tow being driven down the freeway. A bumper sticker on it said, “We’re spending our kids’ inheritance NOW and enjoying every dime of it!” As I drove by I noticed that the driver was not an elderly man who had “paid his dues” (which I expected to see), but a much younger man than me. I thought to myself, why not–you have earned it; if you can afford it, you should enjoy it while you have the opportunity to.

At first, this mindset can appear self-serving and perhaps a bit stingy but taken in proper context, it is not that at all; it’s about being wise enough to know what you are worthy of and embracing it while you can. For some, it may be about no longer postponing the motorhome experience or taking the trip of a lifetime until “someday” arrives. For others, it may be about no longer postponing joining that hiking club, planting that garden, or enrolling in that long-desired art, dance, fitness, or computer class until such time when it is more convenient or practical. Seldom does that time ever show up.

THE TAKE AWAY: Life is a gift meant to be fully used before we leave the planet rather than squandered by living small. In short, don’t return to your Maker less than fully “used up.” That’s like paying for a full-day pass at Disneyland and then leaving the park before you get to all the rides. You have already paid the admission price for the ride called life, so be sure to get your money’s worth before you leave. What might you be postponing until you reach that etheric destination called “somewhere down the road”? Perhaps now is the time to stop thinking and start doing. Of course, that will always be the case because now is all there is and now is all you have. The quintessential question is how are you spending your “now”?

At the end of your journey on this planet, whenever that day comes, may you be able to say, “Wow! What a ride!

Peace, Dennis


Dennis Merritt Jones
Dennis Merritt Jones
Throughout his lifetime, author, speaker, and mentor, Dr. Dennis Merritt Jones has been on a quest to inspire and lift people to a higher expression of life. His vision is to guide people to their purpose, knowing that when one fully awakens to who they are and why they are on the planet, they share their gift to humankind and create an enriching life for themselves and the world around them. Dennis is the award-winning author of six books—three of which are recipients of a Nautilus Gold or Silver award—and hundreds of articles and blogs. He has written and released the following books: The Art of Abundance - Ten Rules for a Prosperous Life; The Art of Being - 101 Ways to Practice Purpose in Your Life; The Art of Uncertainty - How to Live in the Mystery of Life and Love It; Your ReDefining Moments - Becoming Who You Were Born to Be; Encouraging Words - Proof That Who You Are Matters, and; How to Speak Science of Mind. Dennis believes we each have the capacity and, ultimately, the responsibility to contribute something positive to this world, leaving it a better place than it was when we arrived. Reflected in his writings and presentations, his teachings promote a contemporary life-affirming, spiritually logical, and positive outlook on life. As a keynote speaker, Dennis is equally comfortable addressing an audience seeking spiritual inspiration or those seeking a purely secular motivational message. He uses his understanding of universal principles to draw upon wisdom from both eastern and western philosophies. As a mentor, Dennis works with individuals and non-profits to assist them in clarifying their vision and mission. He believes that there is a deeper consciousness of unity, cooperation, and reverence rising in humankind where the value of all life, regardless of ethnicity, geography, culture, or sexual orientation, is sacred. He believes this consciousness of unity, cooperation, and reverence for life and the planet will be one of the most significant influences upon society as we approach the challenges of 21st-century living.

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  1. Time passes and never goes back. We live in constant change, in constant evolution, immersed in stressful habits. We often watch time slip away from our hands without being fully aware of it.
    Our daily life is free of breaks and constantly projected to the weekend, the next vacation or the next holiday.
    The crux of the matter is to act and be present with what you feel, without judging or feeling continuously judged. The most mature form of a person’s commitment and character.
    I think giving meaning to life means finding what matters most to us and working on that priority accordingly.

  2. Dennis,
    What a great story and a beautiful reminder: “now is all there is and now is all you have”.
    My husband I recently moved from Houston Texas to Cascais Portugal. Most of our family and friends said “why?” and our only response was “why not?”. #livingthedream!

    • Hi Carolyn…thanks for your kind words. The older I am privledged to grow the more dedicated I become to living in the present moment–and not taking any part of it for granted. Have beautiful Easter!

      Peace, Dennis

  3. Your story about the sofa, Dennis, reminds me about using the fine china.

    My mother inherited her mothers wedding china and we hardly ever used it. Our normal meals were eaten on ok, not chipped, but certainly not charming plates. She still has the old set, decimated throughout the years and completely unpractical with all the big terrines and humongous serving plates that might belong in a museum or in a household of 10 people but certainly not with her grandchildren or her own solitary living where most meals are heated in the microwave. I will remind her that using the plates, even if some may break in use, will honor her mother more than them going to Goodwill.

  4. Wow! Dennis, this is really thought provoking. I think it also suggests ‘carpe diem’. I have often hears people say that they are waiting…….. But waiting for what? Old age to set in and prompt and individual to repeat, ‘what if’.

    Sometimes decisions are made earlier in life we regret, only to realize that had we not make that error, we would not have experience a particular joy we have now. Seemingly preordained.


    • Thank you for the last paragraph,, Simon. Life is a package deal. We can’t play “what if” and only take the positive outcomes but not the sacrifices.
      Here in the US the book The Midnight Library exploring regrets is selling like hotcakes.

    • Hi Simon. It is so true that carpe diem is my mantra…You are also spot on about the decisions (choices:) we make early on. I think of that as “wisdom collection” opportunities. Wisdom is simply the collective of all our past experinces brought into the current moment in a manner that alters our choices made in the present that will affect the future “now” as it hurls torwards us!

      Peace, Dennis