Ifs and Buts

Steeltoes Required™

                      “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas.”

This is just a funny quote yet it has serious undertones.  I had no idea this quote was attributed to the first great QB for my beloved Dallas Cowboys, “Dandy” Don Meredith.  I originally heard this quote in high school from one of my track teammates.  I remember laughing when I heard it because of the context of our conversation. However, the older I get, the more I see the wisdom this quote brings.  

All of us want to live a life without any mistakes and no regrets.  Who doesn’t want to get to the end of life and say with their final breath that life was on your terms, you lived it to the fullest, and you fulfilled your bucket list?  Who wants to be like Jon Bon Jovi, who sang “It’s my life. It’s now or never…I just want to live my life.”? My hand is raised up. Make that both hands.

But…there is that word that kills dreams quicker than your morning alarm…”But.”  The word “but” is the buffer between your dreams and a life of second guessing. “But” is a safety valve between failed attempts at greatness and complacency telling the stories of what might have been.  “But” is the word you use often when offering advice to others when they set off to try something new and you want to be “realistic” with them.  

Your realism, instead of helping, reveals the angst you have within you to join them.  “But” helps you play what you believe to be a safe life, yet when you dig deep down into your soul, you discover that you really haven’t lived life at all. Your butt is stuck on “but.”

“If” is related to “but” and they get along so well together. Misery indeed loves company with these two words spending many family reunions together over cold drinks and a warm fire, celebrating the life they dreamed about but never had the courage to bring about.  “If” always finds an excuse for why it doesn’t try or fails to succeed when it does try.  I have spent many years with these relatives and they are fun to tell stories with and laugh. They always have great reasons for why they never reached the achievements they were made for.  I have left these two with a gut sore from laughing and conscience seared with regrets. Will you be their legacy. Will you become the next “if” and “but” story teller at my family reunions?  Will you be the one everyone looks forward to seeing at your family reunions because of your “what might have been moments” that you never took a chance on? Are you the relative who hangs around with “but and if”?

Today is your day to start acting on the life you want instead of wishing for the life you don't have.


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