Last week, at the age of 57, my friend Randy retired from his beloved career of 31 years. He gave a heartfelt speech to all the people in the room who were there wishing him well as he heads into his new adventure. It was a long speech, because he had a lot to say, but the thing that struck me most was his genuine appreciation for being alive and having the opportunity to experience this new chapter of his life.
“Some people don’t make it this far,” he said, and I thought of our mutual friend Sharon who had just passed away at the age of 51.
It was a good reminder of how precious life is and how we never know when our time is up. If we’re lucky to make it to retirement, whether we continue to work, have the chance to travel, or truly take some time off to relax, it’s a blessing to even get to that stage.
A lot of people were talking about their bucket lists that night. “What’s on your bucket list?” was a question I kept hearing. Gee”¦ what’s not on my bucket list, I wondered. I’m 44 now and I feel like I’m just at the beginning of my real career and can’t even fathom the thought of ever retiring. However, I can imagine compiling a bucket list of things I want to do in my life before I die.
I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older that when I put my goals down on paper I am more likely to accomplish them. Even if I never look at it again a lot of those things seem to get done. But my goals have always been for the immediate years ahead and usually involve work more than anything else. When it comes to figuring out what I want to experience in my lifetime I’ve been far less strategic. I think preparing a bucket list would be an effective exercise for me to tackle.
First on my bucket list might be to rent the movie of the same name. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman starred in the movie a few years ago and I still haven’t seen it. I’ve heard mixed reviews over the years – but now the whole concept is interesting enough to entice me to invest two hours of my life watching it. Heck, I just watched “The Dilemma” at the movie theatre the other night. If I’m willing to spend two hours of my time watching that, I should be willing to spend two hours of my time watching just about anything.
My good friends lost their best friend this week when he died suddenly in his sleep at the age of 41. Another friend lost his precious 31 year old daughter to breast cancer that same day.
We just never know when our time is up, so we need to embrace life, appreciate our loved ones and have fun while we’re here. And that’s what deserves top billing on my bucket list.