Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Would You Deny a Dying Man His Final Wish?!

I recently blogged that "I am dying."  The Shewolf chalked this declaration  up to mere hyperbole, which she claims she has come to expect from me.  In truth, we are all dying, but recently, I have experienced an acute awareness of my mortality.  I think it started with a recent review of Darrell's Big List, which is essentially my Bucket List.  I have been struggling to find the time to accomplish much of what's on Darrell's Big List and my life is flying by with such alacrity, that it's difficult to envision completion of everything on my list before I die.  In short, as a 57 years old I am simply running out of time to accomplish my goals, both serious and frivolous.

So I decided it's time for a course correction.  I placed on my calendar for 2015 some spectacular events, including climbing in South America and a Brazilian Jujitsu tournament in Europe.  Either I'm in, or I'm out. I choose to be in.  When I went home and reviewed my plans for 2015 with my wife, she was skeptical about my plans and gently suggested that I reconsider these newly scheduled adventures and tamp down my ambitions. "Are you crazy?!  You are going to kill yourself, and trust me when I say, I have no interest in being left as a premature widow." My response, of course was as equally tempered, "Would you deny a dying man a few final wishes?!"

Monday, September 1, 2014

Just Say "Yes!"

 Mountain biking at Deer Valley, summer of 2014

Climbing Lone Peak with Shea, Brent and my nephews, summer of 2014.

In 1980, as part of the war on drugs, Nancy Reagan coined the phrase, "Just say No!"  She went around the country and encouraged young kids to "Just say No!" when confronted with opportunities to use drugs.  This phrase has stuck in the American consciousness.  I hate it. Let me explain...

I am dying and life is passing me by.  Well, actually, we are all dying.  Life is short and I have the sense that life is going by with such speed that I can't keep pace.  There have been times in my past where I have said "no" when offered a chance to do something fun.  Sometimes I have had good reasons for saying "no."  On other occasions I have said "no" in ways that were tantamount to "a lame excuse."  One case in particular that comes to mind is when my brothers all ran the treacherous Colorado river and I declined their invitation to join them.  I was concerned about finances and decided to sit that one out.  What a moron!  I stayed home and ended up missing out on one of the most memorable brother trips ever. Was the money I saved worth missing out on this trip?  When we die, what will we show for our efforts?  Is sitting one out for financial reasons really a good choice when one considers the brevity of life and the fleeting nature of mortality?

Most recently, I passed on an opportunity to climb the East Buttress of Mt. Whitney with my nephews, primarily because I didn't feel that my physical shape was what it needed to be to successfully hang with them.  Being overweight by 20 lbs caused me to doubt my ability to successfully complete this climb.  And so, in the end I said, "no."

Never again! My faith teaches me that we fought for the right to be here. We fought in a great war just for the opportunity to participate in the gift of mortality.  If we truly care about this life and the stewardship and opportunities that this life presents, we should make every day, every hour and even every minute count for something.   In short, I don't ever want to say "no" again.  Particularly, if it has anything to do with weight, fitness or money.  So when someone asks me:

           "Are you sure about that, it sounds a little sketchy?"
           My response, "Yes!".

          "Man that's crazy!  Are you really in?"

          "It's going to be epic, but really painful. Are you coming?"

Forget Nancy Reagan!  Going forward, I intend to put myself in a position to always be able to say "yes."  And when given the chance, I hope to always find the courage to say "yes."  I have lost 10 lbs and am working hard to get into the kind of shape that will allow me to enthusiastically respond with "Yes!" at every opportunity.  So, if you have something epic in the offing, please count me in and know that henceforth my answer to every big challenge will be a resounding, "Yes!"