I recently had the chance to listen to a good friend of mine give a speech about his Bucket List. This is the idea where you make a list of things to do in life before you “Kick The Bucket”. He is 90 years old, and recently climbed aboard a train to take it across this country. This was a trip he was planning to take for a good part of his life. Here’s the rub...his message was not about making a Bucket List, or his joy in accomplishing it. His message was quite frankly, “Don’t wait to do your Bucket List items...life goes by too fast!” He spoke about how he wished he had done it years ago, when he had more mobility, energy, and his lovely wife with him on this adventure. He joked about how the comfort and fun he was expecting was a little harder in his 90 year old body. Now don’t get him wrong, as he said, in his mind he still feels half his age. But, he can’t deny his body ,although mostly healthy his whole life, had now grown older with time..
I sat there and listened to my friend wisely tell his younger cohorts about enjoying life now. He advised us to not wait for later in life when you think it will be more appropriate...do it now!
I am not sure if others were truly hearing his message and heeding his warning. Of course we all respect and appreciate him speaking at our weekly meeting. But, how many in the room sat there thinking about the next appointment, or checking their emails, or worried about a family issue and were not quite paying attention to the wisdom being bestowed upon us that day. You see, when you are young, we all feel like we are going to live forever. We look forward to being retired, enjoying checking off those Bucket List items with friends and family, or sitting with our loved ones in a rocking chair and sharing stories of our youth. Here was a man who lived a full life, had many great friends, and was now wondering why did I wait to enjoy some things in life.
I am now middle aged with two grown children and a wonderful grandchild. I try to tell my kids that although my life is not over, there is something that I have come to realize. The Good Times are NOW. Yes, we all look back at fond memories of friends, jobs, trips, family occasions and seem to say “Those were the good times.” But, how many of us look around at the “present” life that surrounds us. Do we admire the beauty of life we are living now? One thing in life is for sure, kids will grow fast, jobs will change, people we love will pass on, and change is inevitable. What makes a great memory is living truly in the present moment. Everyday we need to capture and appreciate those feelings, the smells, the sights and lives of the people around you.
I remember hearing that it’s ironic how the word “present” is used to describe a current moment of time but it is also a word that describes a gift. This gift is given to us everyday, it is not promised or guaranteed. So if you woke up today, then appreciate the gift you have been given. Another day to live with love, make mistakes, make a difference in your world, and appreciate the moment. Your “good times” are now and your great memories of the future are being created today.
I will do my best to live out the wisdom of my 90 year old friend who took the time out of his precious day to pass on his message... that our time to do our Bucket List is now….there is no better time than the present. I look forward to appreciating the gift of every day in my life, the mystery of what it will contain, the joy it will bring and the memory it will create. Guess I am gonna need a bigger bucket!