Remember when you were a kid and couldn’t wait until you were old enough to get your driver’s license or your first job? And how about high-school graduation? Couldn’t come soon enough! “Just wait until….” seemed to be a recurring theme.
Truly, life’s early years seemed to last an eternity. Why is it then, that the years seem so much shorter as we age (see my archived blog, “Relatively Speaking…June, 2015)? With my fiftieth high school reunion rapidly approaching, I’m left to wonder where has the time gone?
One of the many witticisms my father shared with me was that “life is a journey, not a destination.” Not only is that true, but – I believe – it’s one of the secrets to loving life. It’s one thing to have a childlike wish that Christmas would “hurry up and come,” but it’s something else to “wish one’s life away” while impatiently anticipating the next “big event.”
My teammates threw an incredible retirement party for me just before I left clinical practice in 2015. Many former patients attended and were invited to contribute their thoughts on note cards tossed into my “retirement bucket.” As much as I appreciated their kind advice and recommendations, I’ve never had a “bucket list” of things I feel I must accomplish before the opportunity is lost.
By embracing life as a journey, I have cherished each day as the gift that it is (it’s called “the present”). Sure, some days have been better than others. Yes, some have brought challenges to be experienced and overcome. But many have been “million-dollar” days that have filled my heart with unimaginable joy.
So, I never bought that Porsche I so desperately wanted, and I sold my beautiful sun-burst finished Gibson acoustical guitar to help pay my college tuition. But I’ve married the woman of my dreams, held each daughter at birth, given each one away in marriage, and enjoyed an amazing and fulfilling career. I don’t need a bucket list to ensure that I have lived life to the fullest, because I already have.
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“Learn from the past without living there, live and grow in the present,
and look to the future with hope and optimism.“