There once was an old man who lived in a tiny village. This old man lived a fairly simple life. He never had much luxury but he never wanted for anything. To sum it all up, he lived a content life in his little village. The only thing he ever spent money on for himself is chocolate milk. Something about it seemed to both comfort and relax him. The best time to drink it was after a long, grueling day in the field. In fact, he only drank it after particularly grueling days. It was his reward for handling such days. He loved chocolate milk.
One birthday his friends threw him a little birthday party. All of them brought simple gifts because they knew he lived a simple life. He wouldn’t want it any other way. One by one he opened his presents and expressed gratitude. The last gift though was his favorite. His friend had given him a bottle of chocolate milk. It was his favorite kind from the store that he had only splurged on twice before. While he made sure all his friends were thanked for the gifts they gave him, he thanked this friend several times.
Another friend asked if he was going to drink the milk right there. “No,” he smiled. “I will wait.”
Everyone assumed he meant he would drink it after the party when he was alone. He was a kind man but even kind men have limits on sharing. Surely, he would drink it alone and enjoy it all to himself.
After the party ended and everyone went home he took out the bottle of milk and stared at it. But he did not drink it. He didn’t even open it. Instead, he put it in his fridge and said, “I will wait for the right occasion.”
Days later a devastating storm moved in and wiped out his crops. He worked for several days in his field trying to salvage as much as he could. When he returned home, he was exhausted. He opened his fridge and saw the bottle of chocolate milk waiting for him. “No,” he said. “I am too tired. I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it as much as I should.” And so he poured him a glass of his cheaper chocolate milk.
Months later his crops had revived so much that he had a buyer interested in purchasing everything he had. His friends were a little envious. The sale would make him the richest man in the village and he would not have to work anymore. After he signed the contract and returned to his little home he opened the fridge. The bottle of chocolate milk waited for him. “No,” he said. “This was a good day but there might be a better occasion tomorrow.”
And so it went. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year. There never seemed to be a perfect moment to enjoy his perfect chocolate milk. He patiently waited.
But time did not wait for him and the old man became an even older man. There came a time when he could no longer get out of bed. The doctor told him the time was near and to do anything he needed doing. He asked that his precious chocolate milk in the fridge be brought to him.
This was the moment he had anticipated and while the time was less than perfect he had no choice. If he was going to drink his perfect chocolate milk he would have to do it now. Someone opened the lid for him and handed him the bottle. He raised it to his lips and about gagged. His perfect chocolate milk was long gone and in its place was a sour smelling clump of nastiness.
While the milk no doubt would have been enjoyable at the time he received it, it was far from a pleasant experience now. By opting to wait for the perfect moment he missed out on his perfect chocolate milk.
The moral of the story is simple. Don’t wait for the perfect time to enjoy life. The great trick is to enjoy the moments – the building blocks – of life as we go. There is no perfect time but there can be perfect moments. Seize them and enjoy the heck out of them. Don’t let your perfect chocolate milk go to waste.