A month ago, everything seemed fine. And then three weeks ago, there was a seizure that led to brain surgery. Another incident last week, and the news was delivered to my Father-in-Law, “You have 14-18 months left.” The news is difficult for him. It is difficult for the family. And yes, it is difficult for me. Here is a man who has had an enormous impact on my life. He has taught me so much, and yet, I feel as if there is so much more for him to teach me. Selfish? Maybe. But isn’t this how things have been done within families since the beginning of time? A man teaches his son, who in turn teaches his son. Down through the ages, knowledge is accumulated and passed down, strengthening those who would bear the torch of the family name into an uncertain future. In this case, maybe selfish is really a survival instinct in man’s evolution.
My Father has been given an hourglass. The sands are running. I can’t imagine what he is going through and what he is thinking about. I wonder what he is going to do with his time left. But as I think about his remaining time, I am drawn back to my own selfish thoughts and how this impending doom affects me. He has the timer, but someday I will have it. And yet even that is wrong. I will not receive a timer someday in the future. I already have it.
Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it. -Marcus Aurelius
If I was told I had a year left, what would I do? What would you do? You could make a bucket list. You could go and see all the wonders of this world. Do all the things you have always dreamed of. Making a bucket list would lead to three questions?
Can you afford your list?
I know I can’t. Give me a year, I would probably die in poverty. I wouldn’t want to work, but I would have no choice. I have debt. I like food. I have a family depending on me. Could you imagine clocking in to work every day knowing it could be your last?
Of course, this is a scenario if you are in debt in your last days. If you carry debt and minimal savings, you are out of luck. You will toil unto the last of your days, so that you and family may eat.
Why not do it now?
Remember, all of our days are numbered. We have no guarantee of tomorrow, let alone a year. Why are we not living life to the fullest right now? But you say, “I can’t afford my bucket list, how can I do this?” Start getting yourself in position today. Prepare now that your family may be covered. Prepare now that you are not working to the very end.
What is on the list?
To see the world, you are preparing to leave, is it necessary? Maybe yes, if it is to share those experiences with loved ones. If you have the means and the desire, then go for it. But what if your bucket list was less about travel and experience and contained such things as:
- Capturing as many sunrises and sunsets as possible,
- Spending more productive time with family and friends. Hugging a little longer. Loving a little more. These are the ones that will keep your memory alive.
- Spending more time contemplating the life to come. Some would suggest there is no after life. That may be fine for them, but I would not rather take the gamble. If there is even a one-tenth of one percent of going to heaven, then there is also a possibility of a hell. I would rather aim for a chance at heaven, then risk whatever misery could be waiting in hell.
These three items alone may be the poor man’s bucket list. But are they not of far greater value than a trip to the pyramids or a bender in Vegas?
Get busy with life’s purpose, toss aside empty hopes, get active in your own rescue- if you care for yourself at all- and do it while you can. -Marcus Aurelius
The clock is winding down on all of us, whether we realize it or not. For my Father, he has been given 14-18 months. What does that mean? Death stands at the threshold patient and waiting. The old Marine could go tomorrow or he could go fifteen years from now. He is no different than us, only more aware than us of things to come. He can wallow in grief that the time is near or he can make the most and count each day as a gift. It is his choice. So, it is with us, we get to choose what we do with the time we have left.
You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think. -Marcus Aurelius