Seize the day, every day

Norbert Rug

The day I decided to live my life to the fullest, to seize the day and stop coasting through life, was the day I was diagnosed with cancer more than 10 years ago. Once informed, I quickly decided that I wasn’t about to let a few rogue cells define me or restrict my joie de vivre.

I believe that time is the greatest gift we will ever receive and waking up each day is a blessing to be cherished. You can always get more money, but you can’t get more time.

My cancer diagnosis is not the only brush with death that I have had. In the 1960s I was driving on Niagara Falls Boulevard when a person coming the other way crossed over the yellow line and strafed the entire driver’s side of my car, from bumper to bumper. My car came to rest at a gas station, about three feet from a gas pump where the attendant was filling another car. I had to exit my car from the passenger door as my door would not open.

I should have known then that I was destined to lead a charmed life.

I totaled another car several years later by hitting a large tree head-on. Over the past 10 years, I have eluded Death so many times, I can't count them all. I've been diagnosed with pulmonary embolisms — so many that my doctor said he had never seen someone as bad as me who was not the subject of an autopsy. I’ve been thrown across a room by 440 volts and I've beat cancer twice already.

I keep checking the bottom of my foot for an expiration date, but I haven’t found one yet. I guess I don’t want to know anyway, since it might diminish the joy I feel every day just to be alive.

Worrying about tomorrow and lamenting the past are a waste of time. Each day is a gift. Carpe Diem!

People don’t call their friends and loved ones, or spend time with them, anymore. Instead, they squander valuable time looking at Facebook, checking their messages or watching YouTube videos. How many of us mumble "I haven’t got time" while rushing home from work to get online? Ugh!

Probably many of our thoughts and worries involve problems and situations in the past or the future. The closer we examine them, the more we will realize that only a very small percentage of our thoughts involve the present.

It takes an honest effort to live your life in the present. This may sound rather simple, but not understanding this is what stops people from living life to the fullest.

People certainly aren’t lazy or afraid, they are merely trapped in their daily routines. We cannot live our lives to the fullest if we don’t dare to try new things or take risks.

In addition, we have to accept that the past is not alterable, and know that regretting it takes away our chance to enjoy the present — not to mention the effect that worrying about yesterday has on tomorrow.

Take it from a survivor: It's best to deal with life one day at a time, focused on the present, not the past or future. Make the best of today, because you'll never get this day back. One day, you'll want to be able to look back at your life with a smile on your face, knowing you did the best you could.

Norb Rug resides in Lockport. Contact him at

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