Seize Your Life

182937“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.  The second best time is now.  Seize your life.”

I picked up this little lady on one of my trips because I just loved the saying on it.  I have a pretty big collection of Japanese maples, and a few other trees as well.  And if you know anything about Japanese maples, some of the most outstanding ones are hundreds of years old.  It would have been real easy to think, what’s the use?  I’ll never live to see them at their peak.  But its been a little over 20 years since I started collecting them, and I am so glad I did.  I enjoy looking at them every day, and some of them have really developed into beautiful trees.


Lace-leaf maple, about 25 years old

Lace-leaf maple, about 25 years old



I think you can see the correlation into anything we might want to start–a new hobby, a new occupation, a new exercise regime, or a new way of eating.  Its so easy to think ‘its too late,’ or ‘what’s the point?’ or ‘its too hard’ or a myriad of other reasons to not start.  But those excuses are false narratives–stories we tell ourselves that just aren’t true.  But if we say them too often, those false narratives become the truth for our life.

For 20 years, I said things like ‘I can’t eat that way,’ and ‘I can’t live without chocolate chip cookies.’  And now, some days, it is easy to think, ‘I’m 55 years old, what’s the point?  I’ll never have that 25 year old body again.  No matter how much I lose, or how toned I get, there will still be wrinkles.’  But those statements, on both sides of my weight loss journey, are false narratives.  ‘I can eat that way,’ and ‘I can live without chocolate chip cookies.’  And the real truth is, I don’t have to live entirely without chocolate chip cookies.  But I do it by choice, because life is easier that way.  And while I won’t have a 25 year old body, I can have a very fit 55 year old body, and my posture is better than it has been in years, and I can stack a mean cord of firewood and not get tired, and I never get short of breath any more.  All because I made a decision to ‘seize my life,’ even if it was the second best time.


My first Japanese maple, about 26 years old.

My first Japanese maple, about 26 years old.

And look what happens if you are patient enough:


'Baby' Japanese maple

'Baby' Japanese maple

Seedlings from my oldest tree occasionally sprout.  I dig them up and cultivate them for a few years (water them in a pot!) and then am able to give them as gifts to others.


7 thoughts on “Seize Your Life

  1. I love love love Japanese Maples. At our old house, we had the most perfect, beautiful Jap Map (teehee), but Shawn wouldn’t dig it up when we moved. We sometimes still drive by the house just to look at the tree!

    That’s a great saying, and one I need to embrace more often.

  2. Love your post today! So true. And your trees are beautiful. Our son has been begging us to plant a tree in our yard, so this fall would probably be a good time to do so.

  3. One of your best posts ever. I’ve been in a “I’m 46 what’s the use?” rut lately. What the heck? I’m “stealing” one of your tree photos to use as a desktop background to remind me that it’s never too late. It’s time to stop this “old lady” mentality. Thank you, Debby. More than I can say.

  4. Inspirational post. Thanks. I have several Japanese maples too (about 8 of them) and have been nurturing them for years. I had two seedlings this summer and a rat ate all the leaves off. (I live in a remote forest area.) Damn rats!

    Still, I can nurture those back.

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