There is a number out there, known only to God unless, of course, you have made the decision to interfere with the Master’s plan and select a date to exit this world on your own accord. I add this macabre thought in deference to the many members of the blue line that are choosing to deal with their misery through the “final solution”. But that is not why I write. Another visit to a doctor this week, for rather routine age related issues, has reminded me that I really have not done a stellar job of managing my time on earth. I suspect that I am not alone in the realization that misplaced priorities are great time thieves. Let’s have a look at time and priority.
If you are fortunate enough, and I certainly was, to work in pursuit of an occupation that is a passion, it is easy to ignore the possibility that you are missing many of the joys that life in the most prosperous country on earth offers. I am reminded of a story that a great friend tells from the heart. His brother called him one day and begged him to take the next day off and fish with him, a passion that both men enjoyed but often set aside to pursue their jobs. My friend declined, begging off as he had “obligations” at work that were, at that moment in time, far more important than a trip to the river. A day or so later, my friend’s brother was killed in a horrific vehicular accident. My friend solemnly declared that he had no time to fish with his brother, but could take the time to bury him. It is a regret he will carry to his grave. The trick, my dear readers, is to avoid creating regrets by not thinking through your priorities in life.
I have always greatly admired folks who can walk out and safely and competently climb into an airplane and soar above the chaos of earth. I have another friend who is near the end of a glorious career driving triple 7’s (Boeing 777’s) around the world for a living. I have written about him in the past as he is a consummate pilot, able to fly just about anything he can climb into. Amazingly, he truly loves to fly smaller aircraft and does so with the calm deliberation that has marked his career. He helped me realize that I, too, can fly an airplane, encouraging me to pursue this dream to where I am today, a solo “student” pilot who is being throttled back by aggravating and perhaps disqualifying health issues that befall us all at some point in time. The final chapter in my flying career is yet to be written, but misplaced priorities have resulted in me grabbing this passion later in life than I should have. I did not think this through when health was the last thing on my mind. These same aggravations have resulted in my placing my motorcycle helmet on our book case, a trophy reminding me that I returned to this passion later than I should have. Am I wallowing in misery and self pity? Hell no, I have experienced the thrill of flying cross country alone and the feel of wind in my face over the rumble of a motorcycle while driving through the country. I paid closer attention to another passion, fishing. The aforementioned health issues have seriously cut back on the pursuit of this noble sport, but I will continue to fish when arthritis is at bay, until I fall over in a trout stream somewhere and am dragged to the bank by a younger, more able angler. Below is a picture of my training airplane taken a day or so after my cross country solo.
These examples of conceding defeat to the time thief are likely no different for most of my readers. If your passion is golf, are you hitting the course as often as you can? Perhaps you enjoy the shooting sports. Do you make it a point to shoot as often as you possibly can? The list is endless; boating, traveling, gardening, bicycling, scuba diving, floating, well, you get the point here. The maintenance of your family obligations can be greatly enhanced by introducing them to and urging them to participate in your passion, or vice versa.
Here is the take away. At some point your health is going to interfere with your life. Do not be lulled into complacency on this consideration as we are want to do when we are 30 something and can jump over buildings and throw a 800 pound motorcycle around as if it were a sack of potatoes. I would offer a fair challenge: Think about the things in life that provide the most joy and consciously consider this important question. Are there changes you can make in your life that will enhance your opportunities to pursue your passion(s)? Is there a strategy, unique to you, that can be adopted that will limit the distractions that are a part of everyday life? Can you enhance your discretionary time? Are your priorities in order? Most of us are at a time in place in life to begin eliminating additional regret, always a good strategy.
We are all very good about making time for the funeral. The trick is to have an eulogist who can smile and suggest that “he (she) had her priorities in order and lived a full life”. Grab a second cup of coffee and give this some thought…..
Have a great weekend!