Sunday, January 31, 2010
THE NEXT 2,333,000 MINUTES
A little over a year ago I purchased an amazing book called FIVE! It was my birthday and the book transported me to a place where I could almost believe I could literally plan my life, this one and only life, so that I don't miss any of it! The first page told me, "You don't have to take life the way it comes to you. You can design your life to come to you the way you want it." Okay how? I continued to read.
It tells me that I can make the next five years the most 'exciting, satisfying, productive and amazing years of my life so far' or I can make them just another five years. Hum! I'm game!
I read it cover to cover while sitting on the beach on Mustang Island, TX. An atmosphere where almost anything seems possible. With a glass of Bordeaux watching the vivid tangerine colored sunset, I read that the purpose of the book is to "stir my creative juices and to inspire me to really get in touch with my dreams." To sum it up, "you really can turn any 'what if?" into "what is." Okay I'll bite! But then I was watching the shrimp boats head past the orange glow of the sunset into Port Aransas and beachcombers heading to the first sand bar in search of sand dollars. And again dreams seem easier and a little more vivid and true on this island.
I guess I should have followed the plan of the book a bit more carefully this past year. Because it was anything but exemplary. I learned more painful lessons than I ever want to learn again, battled and still battling the horrors of Panic Disorder, and trying to crawl one step at a time back into life after having been kicked into a deep hole yet again. But then it is said that we grow the most through adversity.
The two 'guiding stars' the book suggests I pay closest attention to are choosing my values, my personal choices of what is most important to me. And secondly to choose my mission - what inspires me the most - what is my life's calling? I need to turn my dreams into goals.
Then I became struck as I re-read, "Some people spend all their lives on a boring little island called the "Someday Isle." Someday I'll be happy. Someday, I'll hike in Nepal. Someday I'll have a great adventure." I know several of these people.
As my doctor told me only last week, "Life is not a dress rehearsal. Life is now; seize it!"
So yesterday I did have ice cream for breakfast-Cookies and Cream. And I did receive a gift of a 'CLOSED 'sign to hang on my office door or around my neck! (Thank you Ed!) And this morning, I let the dogs out and went back to bed! (That probably doesn't mean much to you - but for me it was a luxury.)
So today I think of my friends, the people I hold dearest in my life. I think of my soldiers and how they are my mission. And I think how I have flown a helicopter onto the Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska, have fallen in love with Tuscany, have spent multiple summers in France, have climbed the highest pyramid in Mexico, have cruised the Inside Passage of Alaska, have lived a year in Korea, have walked on active red hot lava in Hawaii, have riden horses with cowboys in Hawaii, had pizza and port in Portugal, danced in Spain, had wine in Yugoslavia, danced on a table in Greece, walked the Parthenon and Pantheon, have visited Abiquiu and hiked the Tzankawi Run and on my life goes.
There are things I have intended to do and have put off, things I wish were different, but as for the next 2,333,000 minutes - I am not so sure. But then maybe, just maybe, I don't have to be. Maybe I just have to let go and remember, "Why not you? Why not now?" Now is my time. As Viktor Frankl said, "Success is the side-effect of your personal dedication to a course greater than yourself."
I personally want my next 260 weeks to matter. I want to live them, enjoy them, taste them, smell them and feel them. And it started yesterday with ice cream for breakfast! I feel very, very sad for people who are missing this amazing journey when they alone are responsible for the quality of it.
"Your journey is determined by the choices you make.
Your answers are determined by the questions you ask.
Your destination is determined by the steps you take.
Your future is determined by what you do today."
"Don't just show up for life - live it, enjoy it, taste it, smell it, feel it."
"Live your life so that your children can tell their children that you not only stood for something wonderful - you acted on it!"