School started this week. We saw teenage boys and girls walking through the neighborhood on their way to prison. At least that’s what their faces looked like. And many of them will be asked the proverbial question, “So, what did you do over the summer?”
The question implies that the fun is done. That we had our chance and now, all we can do is look back at the better days with fond remembrance. It’s curious why no one ever asks, “So, what are you going to do now that summer’s over?”
Spring has the possibility question locked up because it’s a time of rebirth. The flowers are blooming and the trees are budding. There are possibilities all around us. Fall, however, is the opposite. It’s seen as the time to recover from the sun-and-fun and slip back into the dull routines of work and school. Even the trees lure us in with beautiful colors that then turn drab. It’s clearly a conspiracy.
But maybe we shouldn’t think of a season as the time for rebirth but we should consider every day as the time for new beginnings.
One day, our opportunity for change will stop. Primarily because we will stop. We will die. All of us. We just don’t know when or how. And yet, most of us live as if we just might be the first ones to get around it. So, as a result of this misguided thinking, we don’t prepare. We do, however, prepare for much less significant activities.
When we go to the beach, we prepare. We lose weight. We wax (well, no me so much). And we buy a swimsuit that matches our newest shape…or not.
When we go on a trip, we prepare. We buy a travel book. We consult William Shatner for good hotel prices. And we buy Bermuda shorts and black socks (well, not me, yet).
But we live our lives, which I would suggest is just a tad bit more important than vacation, without the same level of preparation.
So what are you going to do today…to prepare?
Let me recommend a few ideas to prepare for your death – which is really just another way of saying, prepare for your life.
Make a bucket list. We’ve all heard of bucket lists but most of us haven’t really created one. Try it. Shoot for 10 things you’d like to do before you die. And start figuring out how to actually accomplish them. Perhaps “Creating a bucket list” is your first item. Just saying.
Make a just-in-case list. You may not have tomorrow but assuming you are reading this, you probably have today. So, what are you going to do today to fulfill your mission in life or find fulfillment in the day – just in case you don’t get to your bucket list? It doesn’t have to be grand but it should be significant. Maybe it’s riding the motorcycle (like I should be doing) or visiting a neighbor who’s ill. Just do one thing.
View each day as an opportunity, not an obligation. Today is a gift. Tomorrow is a gift. What are the opportunities that come with this gift? If you look at your life and work as an opportunity rather than an obligation, you may see potential that you never saw before.
As I took my morning walk and saw the teenagers walking to school, I couldn’t help but think about the differences in our walks. They are starting their lives with infinite possibilities. I am half-way through my life with less time (in theory) for the infinite possibilities. However, we were both on the same journey and there is no reason why we can’t both approach our days with with optimism rather than dread.
Fall is not a time to slip into routines but it’s a time to pursue the possibilities. So is winter. So is spring and summer. And more importantly, so is today.
So, what are you going to do…today?