To act and enjoy oneself now, before one's situation changes. The phrase refers to Robert Herrick's 17th-century poem "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time," which contains the line, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may." Gather rosebuds now, because you never know what tomorrow will bring. Youth is a fleeting thing, so gather rosebuds while you can.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.