I have been thinking a lot about John Mariotti’s Sunday story, Peak Experiences, that he wrote a couple of weeks ago. Recently I was driving through the Hill country in Texas. I had just picked up my son from camp and he was so excited to see me and he just talked and talked and talked and I basked in the glory of him loving to be with me again after being away at camp for so long. We rode in the car with the windows open and talked about how beautiful everything was and listened to music and laughed and I realized that it was in the midst of one of those moments where you just have to stop and be grateful and enjoy it.
At the time it was kind of hard to enjoy because I knew I would only have them back for a day before they left for their dad’s for the summer. But I made the conscious decision to have as much fun as possible. After they left we had a death in my family, my uncle Gary who lives next door to my mom. He was at our house almost every single night sitting on the patio with my mom and my step-dad enjoying the evening and a glass of wine. It happened so fast. He was on the patio with us one night and the next morning he had a heart attack and was gone.
Of course, there were so many words left unsaid, so many things left undone. It was a moment for everyone to realize everything they wished they had said and done. Hind sight is always 20/20. But where do we go from there? Usually we think of all of the changes we want to make in our lives. We tell the people closest to us that we love them and support them. Then we go back to work the next day with plans to change and we get back into our routine and very soon we are right there again putting things off until later when we have time. But time is limited.
In Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Address in 2005 he said that when he was 17 he heard a quote once that said, “If you live every day as if it were your last, Someday you’ll most certainly be right.” and he said that every day since then he asked himself:
“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything, all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. No one wants to die. Even people who believe in 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. It’s Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new…. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life…. Have the courage to follow your own heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
But how do we accomplish all of the things we want to accomplish when our lives are so busy? How do we remember to stop and smell the roses at every turn? How do we stop and find gratitude when we are so overcome with things that need to be done and bills that need to be paid? I think the answer is in recognizing those Peak Experiences and loving them for what they are. Sometimes it’s easy to look at the negative side of things. We have to make the conscious decision to stop and see the bright side and do the things we love to do.
I have decided to use my time this summer when my kids are gone as a time set aside to do a bunch of the things that I want to do. I’m calling it “My Bucketlist Summer Odyssey”! Not only will I try to do a lot of the amazing things that there are to do in this world, but I am going to try to reconnect with old friends, make new friends, and enjoy all that I can. I hope that you will join me! Give me a call or send me an email or private message on Facebook and we can get together. Or get out and do all of the things that you want to do and post it on social media with the hashtag #mybucketlistsummerodyssey and #crossfitodyssey so we can see all that you are doing! Share this with your friends and let’s see how much incredible bucketlist fun everyone can have!
Remember, you don’t have forever. Don’t put it off, get out there every day and do one thing that is awesome!
Ellie Bishop McKenzie
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