It’s the end of the year – a time when people reflect on what they did in the last 12 months and look ahead to what they have planned for the new year. Many of us have a “bucket list”, a list of things we dream of doing someday. Someday is that magical time when we retire and have an abundance of time to do all the things on our wish list. The sad thing is some people don’t make it to that day. They work and work but never take time to enjoy the moment. I know. I use to be one of those people.
I remember the finale of the television series “House” back in 2012. At the end of the final episode, as House and his friend head off on their motorcycles, they played the song “Enjoy Yourself, It’s Later Than You Think”. That song resonated with me for many reasons. It made me think about myself and what the future may hold for me health-wise. I didn’t want to be left thinking about what I COULD have done. I want to have lots of memories about things I DID do, like running Rim-to-Rim in the Grand Canyon, and the marathons and half marathons I have run all over the world. The memories I have from all those experiences are wonderful souvenirs, reminding me of the sense of accomplishment I felt when I completed each one.
Another reason the song hit me so hard was because of a horrible tragedy that struck the dog agility community at the time. One of our fellow agility enthusiasts was killed in a head-on collision while on her way to an agility trial. This tragedy claimed her life (she was just 49 years old) as well as that of one of her dogs. I still think about her and what a fun, lively person she was – always smiling, loving her dogs despite their crazy antics in the ring, a kind word and genuine interest in everyone she met. She enjoyed herself.
I read an article once about several men who pursued their dreams. There was the 80-year old man who had run since high school and continues to enter races (often the oldest participant), with the goal of running a race in all 50 states and a 72-year old golfer who had played golf in all 50 states. Finally there was a 65-year old motorcyclist who watched his mother sock away money for her dream – a cruise to Europe. She died just when she had enough money to take the cruise. That motorcyclist decided to take a trip in his mother’s honor. Since he wasn’t the cruise type, he decided to ride his Harley Davidson through the Lower 48 states. Four and a half months and 22,381 miles later, he completed his ride and became a member of the Iron Butt Association. He said the highlight of the trip was meeting people. People gravitate to a guy with a load of gear on a motorcycle. Each of these men had a dream to do something that had meaning for them. Their goals may be silly to us but they were things that gave them joy. Instead of thinking about doing it, they went out and DID it!
I realized after reading that article things don’t happen unless you make them happen. I bought a small journal – my Dream book – and wrote down things I want to do and places I want to visit. Things like visiting a dude ranch, going to see an opera, or seeing a concert at Red Rocks in Colorado. Each year I look at my Dream book and pick a few things to do. I am lucky – my husband and I share many of the same interests. We have started crossing things off the list and, more importantly, we have started having fun.
2017 is going to be a busy year for me. I hope to finish my 50 State Endurance Challenge (13 states to go) and the 6 Major Marathons (only 3 left). It is a pretty ambitious goal. I am working with a running coach and focusing on getting myself prepared for my races. As long as I can stay healthy – no more broken bones please – I should be able to reach my goals by the end of the year. Plus there are a couple of fun things from my Dream book my husband and I plan to do.
What do you want to do in life? Is there a place you want to visit? A race you want to run? Do you want to do your first triathlon or century bike ride? What are you waiting for? If you don’t do it now, when will you? If there is something that you really want to do, you can find a way to make it happen. Remember, enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.