Monday, December 28, 2015

What Would You Do?

I was sitting at the table when Ginger asked, "What would you do if you had six months to live?" Among my answers was to call friends and let them know their friendship had been appreciated, sail across the ocean, and eventually disappear into anecdotal sightings of a feral American burning up famous roads and courses in a De Tomaso Mangusta. I’d stop only to watch the sunset, and most reports would come from those who shared a drink with the itinerant.

Next she hit me with the question, "What would you do if you were given a million dollars?" I said, "Nothing. You can't do squat with a million. Make it a spare ten and we'll talk." Looking at me with the usual frustrated eyes, she agreed. My answer was to...

Actually, my response to that last question is unimportant. What counts is that both questions arrived at a time I was already stewing over a related thought - I'm running out of time and need to prioritize.
When I was in college, I created a list of things to accomplish in my lifetime. Today, most people call these bucket lists. By the time I was 26 I had done them all. It took me a while to realize it, but there were two valuable lessons contained within the experience. First, think big. You'll accomplish much of what you set out to do; therefore, make the items huge. Second, the size of your dreams directly relates to the amount of time they'll take to accomplish.

Back then, the second one wasn't a problem. Now that I'm older, my aspirations have increased to meet a crossover point with my remaining life expectancy. Essentially, my dreams and time left are at L/D Max. From here on out, my desires will have to work against the ever-increasing parasitic drag of decreasing time. Bummer. Now I have to make choices.

If you’ve ever experienced this yourself, you know it can be stifling. Similar to reducing your pack for a long hike, many items previously believed important are revealed for what they are, dead weight. Setting them aside can be tough. You might even have to walk away and come back.

I walked away to the blogs of others. Surprisingly, one friend had recently discussed the same problem. His post left me with company, but it also reinforced the idea it was time to trim and focus. Future objectives would have to be clear.

Do you have a list?

One report was that he sat silently as the horizon recaptured the sun.
Looking away to order a drink was all the time it took.
The American was gone.

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