Just a thought to share as we prepare for our biggest trip yet. Life is full of bucket lists… some big… some small… Those bucket list items or dreams drive us to make decisions about how we spend our time. When we’re young we spend it working and dreaming about a bigger house, bigger vacations, better cars, promotions and well, stuff. When the time comes for you to put all that structure aside and retire to a life of well, non-structure it can be difficult. Many lose their purpose. Many are lost. Many actually lose their health and rapidly stop living.
Lynn and I vowed to make the most of our “golden years”… you know those years after you’ve given up the structure of a daily job and routine and opted for the freedom of choosing what you see and what you do with all that time on your hands. How you spend it makes a big difference. We have retired friends who are much, much more active than we are and they continue to amaze us. We also have friends who seem to lose focus in these golden years and just exist, not really knowing what is next. That’s where the wisdom of the “dash” comes in. I’ve heard it said that we all have a dash in our lives whether we want it or not. It’s the dash between two numbers… two numbers that we cannot choose… the date we came into this world and the date we left it… and that dash… that dash. That dash and more importantly, what we do with it is the ultimate bucket list. At a time when many have time on their hands to make the most of that dash, many choose to slow down and in doing so get weaker and weaker, both mentally and physically. You see, growing old sucks! There’s no two ways about it… it sucks. But what’s the alternative? For us that sucks worse… right?
So how do you make the most of your “dash”? I’m betting it’s different for each of us. And what do you do if you want different things out of your dash than your spouse does? I don’t pretend to have the answers but I know I am so fortunate to be married to my best friend who loves to dream as big as I do, who sees the good in people and finds fun in everything we do and is always ready to face the next big adventure hand in hand and has the same desire to make the most of our “dashes”… together.
So with our “dashes” in mind tomorrow Lynn, Maggie and I begin a journey to check off another major bucket list item as we head out on a 3-4 month trip to Alaska in our van. I’m not sure we are doing the right thing but I do think that if my 90-year-old self could come back and tell the 61-year-old self what really matters, that 90-year-old self would not say stay home in your golden years and watch more TV. I think he’d say get off your butt, dream big until you can’t dream any more and get out there! Hike, bike and explore and see… see as much as you can while you have 4 good knees and the desire to take chances. So with that we’ll set out the biggest trip we’ve been on to date, likely more than 15,000 miles. We’ll fatten up our dashes with epic memories or as my grandmother used to say “movies in our minds” and we’ll check off one of our biggest bucket list items. Is that what’s important? Heck no! Not even close! What’s important is that we will talk non-stop, plan non-stop and experience the wonder that is known as the last frontier together.