My grandfather’s golden watch

“What day is it?” asked Pooh.

It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.

My favorite day!” said Pooh.

A.A.Milne

Have you ever thought about not wearing a special shirt or not putting on that cologne in the morning, because it was too expensive? You wanted to “save it for later, for a special occasion”? You shouldn’t. You should feel special every day, and it is in your hands to accomplish this feeling. My article today is about my grandfather’s golden watch and how it can teach us a lesson to embrace and welcome every day. Many of us save things for later and forget to live today.

My grandparents’ “war” generation

I spent a lot of time with my grandparents at their house. As a kid, I never wondered about the fact that my grandmother had “good silverware” and “every-day silverware”. She also had the “good cups” and the normal cups for everyday use. All the good silverware and dishes were stored in another room and only taken out for special occasions. I grew up with this, and it was not until later that I realized that this was a special way of thinking, inherent to the old war generation.

My grandparents grew up during World War II; my great grandmother even survived both world wars. They had to learn how to survive with a minimum of resources. After World War II, there was an economic boom in Austria. People were able to buy stuff they never had before, such as TV’s, special silverware or dishes – luxury. My grandparents grew up with almost nothing, so they had to learn how to plan ahead. They wanted to save the “good stuff” for later, for special occasions. However, with all the “saving up for later” my grandparents forgot something important – to live in and embrace the moment.

My grandfather’s 60th birthday – the golden watch

I remember my grandfather’s 60th birthday, I was 13 or 14 years old. We celebrated my grandfather’s birthday with the whole family, and he got a lot of presents. One of these presents was a golden watch, from my grandmother and my great-grandmother. They didn’t have a lot of money, so they had to save some money for it. It was a nice watch, with a golden clock-face and a fine leather band. When he got it, my grandfather opened the case with the watch in it, looked at it, said “This is nice, thank you” and put the watch back in the case.

He probably never opened it again until the day he died.

My grandfathers death – the good-bye

My grandfather died a year ago, three weeks after I went to the United States. He was sick for a long time; his death wasn’t a surprise. But even if it was the end of a long suffering, the whole family was devastated.

However, I am glad that I had the opportunity to say good-bye before I went to the U.S. He suffered from several strokes; he was not able to move his hands anymore. He also was not able to speak anymore, and was almost blind. But you could still see some light in his eyes when he recognized something.

Saying good-bye was hard for me. I knew that I would never be able to see him again. I went to his room, he was in his bed. I took his hand and I said goodbye. His eyes were always closed, but as I gave him my last kiss on his cheeks, he opened his eyes. He saw and he recognized me. I told him that I have to go now. He looked at me, I saw it in his eyes that he heard what I said. He stared at the ceiling. I saw a tear in his eye, and I am sure he knew that this was the final good-bye. I didn’t want him to see me cry, so I swallowed my tears; I cried a lot after that.

The golden watch

A couple months after his death, I spoke to my grandmother. I totally forgot about the golden watch; when she told me about it, I remembered it. She took care of my grandfather’s belongings after his passing, and she found the watch. She wanted me to have it, to have something from him when I am in the U.S., something to remember him. My grandmother told me that he was never wearing this watch, always waiting for a special day.

The next time my mother visited she brought me that watch. And there it was – the golden watch in a case; it looked like a brand-new watch. I had to get a new battery, but still – after almost 25 years it looked like a completely new watch.

Live and embrace the moment

I love the golden watch. It reminds me of my grandfather and where I come from. And it is a reminder to live every day. My grandfather waited for a long time to wear his golden watch, but he never did – until it was too late.

Unlike my grandfather, I do not want to wait for special days to wear my watch. I also do not wear for any special occasion; I wear it every day if I choose to. And this is the important lesson this watch teaches me: When I wait to for a special day, I will probably never wear it. The same goes for “expensive” clothes or “special” shoes or “fine” fragrances – I wear it every day I can. Every day is special, because it is YOUR life! You are still alive, and you should feel worth it – wear your best cologne, your best clothes, eat that special dinner, because you deserve it! Celebrate and embrace your life in this very moment!

Take away message from my grandfather’s golden watch

We never know how long we live; we never know what tomorrow brings. Of course, it is good to save some money for later! However, it shouldn’t stop us from living, enjoying our life today. Think about yourself: What are the things you don’t wear, don’t do, or don’t eat because you want to wait for a special day? Why can’t you do it today? You can wear your best clothes, order  that special dinner just for you, have a bath with that special bath salt, nourish your skin with that special body lotion, wear that special cologne when you go shopping… it is your list. Feel special and don’t wait for a day in the future far ahead because it might be too late some day!

 

About the writer: Dr. Mario Lehenbauer-Baum wants to help people to thrive in life. He is a Clinical Psychologist and Health Psychologist as well as a certified Industrial-/Organizational Psychologist, a motivational speaker and coach as well as a researcher. He is a passionate gamer and uses new technologies frequently. His research work combines (Clinical) Psychology/Organizational Psychology and new technology (e.g. online-based social skills trainings) as well as the “side effects” of using new technologies, such as being addicted to the internet, games or smart phones. In his coaching and therapy work he focuses on positive psychology to help people live a better life.