About ten years ago my brother, sister and I were thinking about what to get for my parents’ 37th wedding anniversary. We hit on the idea of sending them to Russia for two weeks since it was the birthplace of both my mom’s and my dad’s parents. We thought about waiting until their 40th anniversary since a trip to Russia would be a pretty big gift, but we decided to go ahead and do it for their 37th. They went to Russia and came back kvelling about everything except the food. About six months after their return my dad passed away unexpectedly. I can’t tell you what a comfort it was to us that we hadn’t waited to send them. I learned a powerful lesson from that experience: You don’t wait until the perfect time to make a difference in someone’s life—you just do it.
I decided to endow my gift at a relatively young age, for my 40th birthday. I could have waited, but I didn’t want to ignore the lesson that was taught to me ten years ago. It has become one of the guiding principles of my life.