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What Would You Do?


I have a question for you. If you could know how and when you would die, would you take that opportunity to find out, or leave it unknown?

I must say with all the North Korea talk in the news lately, thoughts of death have crossed my mind more than a few times, which got me thinking about the above question. If I had the choice to know how and when I would die, I would take it in a heartbeat (no pun intended.

For me, if I knew, it would free me up to do so many more things. It would allow me not to fear flying or fear heights or any of my many other phobias. It brings Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” video to mind.

As odd as it sounds, I think it would open my life up. If you learned you had a month or a year left, wouldn’t you quit your job and travel or whatever else you wanted to do before your time on Earth were over? I guess if I lived every day as if it were my last, I wouldn’t have these issues, but that’s not realistic, for me anyway. If you don’t know how long you have, you’re not going to quit your job to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Knowing your expiration date would also help you in your retirement planning. If you find out you are going to live to be 100, chances are, you better start socking away a few more dollars into that 401K or investments, because you are going to need your retirement nest egg to last. But, on the other hand, if you only had five years left, who needs retirement? Go buy that Corvette or second home. Enjoy your time before it’s gone.

I know, listen to me, I am basically giving myself therapy … enjoy your time before it’s gone. unfortunately, that’s never been easy for me. I have always been a bit pessimistic, or as I like to say, realistic when it comes to life.

For me, death is fascinating and frightening at the same time. To my knowledge, no one has escaped death. It’s something we will all have to face at some point or another. I envy those that do live every day as if it could be their last. I wish I could be one of those people, but it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. I often think there is an age or stage in life when people go from fearing death to accepting that their time is growing short, thus they throw caution to the wind. I think I am getting there, just not quite there yet.

Skydiving, bullriding, taking a cruise … who knows? The sands are running through the hour glass without fail. I don’t want to have the most boring stories in Heaven, or Hell for that matter, so I better get busy livin’!

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School’s Out … Now What?


August 7th will mark the end of my college career, a journey that started nearly 30 years ago. I won’t bore you with the details, but as my time in college has come to an end, many emotions have come over me.

After earning enough credits to finally graduate, I must admit my first emotion was relief. Thank God it was finally over and I would not have to take any additional courses to capture that elusive cap and gown. I also felt a sense of accomplishment. I am not big on following through on a lot of projects that I start, thus this is a major milestone for me. I couldn’t have done it without so many great people in my life telling me that I could cross that finish line. I also felt a sense of pride. As many of you who have worked and gone to school at the same time know, it’s not easy. Schoolwork is the last thing you want to do after yet another bad day at work.

There was also one other feeling that I felt which actually surprised me a little bit … sadness.  I was not sad that the tests and schoolwork were over. No way. I was sad because another chapter in my life was over. I’m sure I would feel differently about this if I were in my early twenties, but now in my early fifties, those feelings have become a bit more complicated. I guess I am becoming more sentimental in my older years.

So, now what? Is this degree going to dramatically change or improve my life? I doubt it. So, what do I do now? I have a few ideas I am kicking around, but the hardest part is getting out there and doing them. I suffer from “analysis paralysis” as they like to say. I try to learn as much about my subject as I can before jumping in. Unfortunately, more often than not, that leads to not jumping in at all.

So, the next few months and few years will be interesting. Time is ticking on that old retirement clock. Yes, I still have some time, but that time to accumulate additional wealth is also ticking.

To steal a catch phrase from Nike, I guess it’s time to “JUST DO IT!”

 

Right Place … Wrong Time


Everyone knows that time passes on. There is no stopping it, unfortunately, but do you ever think about life itself? Your life? How might your life have been different if you were born a century ago, ten years ago, or even a century in the future? Well, maybe it’s just me.

Having recently turned 50, my thoughts have turned toward retirement and trying to become more healthy. I have worked too damn hard not to be around long enough to enjoy retirement, thus I have to push away from the table and get off my ass and exercise. When I think about life, though, I often think about what might have been.

Stage Goes Dark

I think about Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the rock band, Queen, who died of AIDS at the young age of just 45 years old back in 1991, the same year NBA legend Magic Johnson announced that he was HIV positive. If Freddie had not contracted the disease for just a few more years, he would likely still be here today.

I often think of all the people that lived in the early 20th century that had life expectancies that probably would not eclipse my current age. How many people on this earth never got to see their 50th birthdays. I often think how nice it would have been to live in the Roaring Twenties, but it probably sounds better than it was. So many diseases back then could have killed you that now are eradicated or treatable.

Tick … Tick … Tick

I also turn my attention to the future. Yes, I am 50. Who knows how long I will live. 75? 80? 100? Hard to tell. What if I were born in 2067 and not 1967? How long could I expect to live? We’ve all seen predictions for the future and how far off they have mostly been. Yes, it would be great to be driving flying cars, but we have yet to realize this fantasy.

These days, you hear about people in the not so distant future possibly living well past 100 and maybe quite a bit more. When you go to the doctor, they would just do gene replacement, kind of like an oil change for our bodies. Who knows how long we might survive with “fresh oil”.

Marathon, Not a Sprint

Yes, modern medicine has come a long way in my lifetime. Promising treatments for Cancer, Alzheimers, and Diabetes are on the horizon. I guess, for me anyway, it is a race against the clock. Can we all avoid these common killers at least until viable treatments if not cures are available. Your guess is as good as mine.

Here’s hoping “The Show Must Go On” for another 30+ years!