Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Second Look

(I wrote this Monday morning)

Ell and I had some great friends over last night and somehow a bonfire got started in our firepit. Those of us who smoke broke out our pipes. And as usually happens when pipes come out, a lot of talking and laughing came out too. At one point I thought the mood felt like it needed a serious question so I brought up the "before-I-die" list idea. The mood turned out not needing the seriousness I thought it did, and everyone made fun of me for a little while. It was pretty funny.

Eventually people started to leave and by midnight the only people left were our two dearest friends in the world. As the four of us sat around the table eating blueberry cobbler and vanilla ice cream, someone brought up the serious question from before. Neither one of our friends seemed to know if they even had a list. They agreed they just lived as life came at them. No real plans beyond the best care and nurturing of their family. What a concept! I had to admit I am not like that. (Meaning the no list, not the nurturing.)

I tried to get them in the right mindset (or rather the mindset I thought they should have been in) and suggested this concept..........You are going to die in six months, list the things you want to do. Lots of drinking, smoking, and sex were the general consensus. We couldn't even be serious that late at night! But looking at it that way did get some more ideas going. But it did something I didn't expect...........it changed my list. Not b/c the stuff on my list wasn't important, but b/c we changed the parameters. A ton of stuff on my list I could care less about if I was going to die in six months. For example, I wouldn't care about owning a Shelby Mustang, but I sure as heck would want to drive one. And I wouldn't care about visiting Hawaii, but I would not miss out on walking at least some of the Appalachian Trail. Weird how we look at things when we put them in a box isn't it?

One other thing that came up was that if people make big plans and they don't end up happening, there are bad feelings or even damaging emotions. I had to agree, but I couldn't get away from the fact that there are things that I absolutely have to do; thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail for example. I want that bad, and I know I will have to deal with a lot of emotional and mental issues if it doesn't happen. But that doesn't make me want it any less.

I love conversations like that one last night. They make me think for days and days. Good stuff!

3 Comments:

Blogger GUYK said...

Sam, it is a good thing to think about..what do I want to do before I die. Goal setting appears to be a lost art anymore. Too many people just live from pay day to pay day and take life as it comes then figure that those who did manage to accomplsh something were just lucky.

In the military we learned not only to set goals but contingency plans for meeting goals. I learned that even in my personal life to always have back up plans...more than one and usually several. And I always figure in Murphy's law because something is gonna go wrong.

And even now, at 64 and retired I still have goals and plans to meet them. Not as lofty of goals as I once had..and eventually met..but still goals. There are somethings I would like to do..fish to catch and places to see.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I too like to think about things that can make your brain spin in many directions. My take on this list is that we need to keep things in mind that make us think, hope and dream, but, we can't base our happiness or success in life on such petty things as...well, things.

1:40 AM  
Blogger Papa D said...

I don't think it is necessary to feel "bad" if you do not do everything on the 'list'. Some things we might think we absolutely MUST have , say at 20 years old, are not that important in the grander scheme of things once we get to 30, or 50, or more. The plan needs to be realistic as well as challenging.

On the other hand, to just flop around in life without some kind of plan is just foolish. It would be like playing basketball with great players, a beautiful court, the finest basketballs, and NO NETS! The whole thing breaks down without a plan.

That being said, the plan needs to be adjusted and amended at times because life is not exactly predictable. Stuff happens - good AND not so good stuff. If I had this great desire, as you do Sam, to walk the App. Trail those plans might need to be adjusted, or discarded, given the fact that wheel chairs don't do trails well.

OK, I'll stop - maybe I'll go make a list or somnething...
-Dad

11:38 AM  

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