I’ve long hated the expression, “Live like you’re dying.” Forget those lyrics by Tim McGraw or Kris Allen. I’m a much bigger supporter of living like you’re living. After all, we pretty much know what the endgame is–death shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us.
Yet so many–too many–people plod through their lives, putting off their dreams for some future, as-yet-determined point of time. Sometimes they luck out, as my parents did, working for years, saving for retirement, and then going on many grand adventures. Sometimes they don’t, as in my step-father-in-law, who took early retirement to finally accomplish some dreams, only to be dead of lung cancer within the year.
Why put them off? Go for your dreams today; not tomorrow. There is no perfect moment waiting in the wings for you. One of the reasons that Doug and I are underprepared for retirement is that we haven’t waited to go after dreams, whether those dreams were independent films or travel. And, while I hate living so close to the financial bone, I don’t regret a thing. It’s better to live a life impoverished of riches than one impoverished of memories, and soul.
Sink your teeth into the meat of life on any given day, reveling in the shock and taste and beauty of it. Visit the Grand Canyon, the Coliseum, the Easter Island moai statues, not to check them off some harried bucket list, but to experience grandeur, history and the sheer bravura and tenacity of both nature and man. Hike the Appalachian Trail, hug a Redwood, breathe the sea air on any coast, in any country.
Can’t get away? Live where you are: There are thousands of ways. Pitch a tent in the backyard, get lost in the woods, skinny-dip in the ocean, fly a kite on your own. Take that cooking class you’ve been debating, learn a new language, throw a party for the heck of it. Why do we always need to justify, to find a reason to do something out of the norm? Instead, strive to startle yourself out of your own complacency; kick yourself out of your comfort zone–that’s where the real living happens.
Life is simply too short to close ourselves off from people and things and experiences. Live it today, in each and every moment. Don’t wait until you’re dying to realize life is meant to be lived.