In September I turned 52 years old, so I jumped out of a plane. It might seem crazy, but every year I like to do something that I’ve always dreamed of doing to celebrate the fact that I’m still alive and I’ve made it this far. It was scary, but oddly I had a great peace with it. Because the truth is, I’m not nearly as afraid of dying as I am of not living.
The past two years have shown us a lot about ourselves. A lot of us locked ourselves away in fear of what could happen. I did, too, at first. I can get myself in that mental place where I am afraid. I become unsure of myself and I don’t want to face the world. But one thing I have learned in the past few years is that when that feeling starts to set in, the BEST medicine is to walk out my front door and face the world head-on.
Someone once said, “If you live each day as if it were your last – someday you’ll most certainly be right.” (~unknown, but quoted in Steve Jobs’ Stanford address). If today were the last day of your life, would you be happy with the way you have lived? What if you consider everything that has happened within the past two years and the pandemic? Have you taken advantage of the extra time? Have you reevaluated your path? Have you stopped to smell the roses? Have you lived your most excellent life every moment of every day?
In 2005 Steve Jobs said in his Stanford Commencement address that death is the one thing we all have in common. But, “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven, don’t want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is as it should be. Because death is very likely the single best invention of life…. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it…”. You can watch the full video here ~ Steve Jobs’ Stanford Address
It’s true. No one wants to die. However, many of us get so concerned with not dying that we forget to LIVE.
Often we get so bogged down in the daily grind like work and raising kids. Of course, all of that is very important. However, somehow those things start to seem small and mundane and more like a hamster wheel. For me, I felt like I was forgetting about the importance of MOMENTS and the exhilerating feelings of adventure, success, gratitude and even contentment.
So, a few years ago I sat down and I made a list of all of the things that I wanted to DO in this life. Some of it was really small stuff like planting my own vegetable garden or getting back to church. A lot of it was places I would like to visit in the world such as Italy, the Great Pyramids and the Great Wall of China. Some of it was stuff I would like to accomplish like starting my own business, writing a book and learning to dance. And several things were accomplishments that I thought were over the top amazing and really terrified me like getting that annoying standing backflip I could never get as a kid, doing a Tough Mudder, and Skydiving (I’m terrified of heights).
It was a long list – 100 items – and I wasn’t sure I would actually accomplish any of it. But as time has passed and the trials and tribulations of life have hit me like a ton of bricks again and again, I have realized more and more how important those MOMENTS of LIVING really are. So although I may not push my limits every single day as much as I wish I did, I try to do at least one thing every year, more if I am able. In the past few years I have accomplished that annoying back flip, the Tough Mudder, The Spartan Race, starting my own business, skydiving, and many more items on that list. And I plan to do a whole lot more.
Life is short and you never know what is waiting for you on the other side of tomorrow. Go outside and as Steve Jobs said, “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” And, by all means, don’t forget to LIVE.