This year for a Christmas present I received a beautiful, acoustic guitar as a gift. You should know that many years ago I was able to read music, but I believe most of those skills are now buried somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind. Over the years I have played “easier” instruments a harmonica and hand-drums, but this, this is my first “real” instrument since playing the violin in 4th grade. Music has always been very important to me and I have always wanted to play the guitar and make music of my own. But over the years I just never got around to pursuing it. When I told family and friends what I had received for Christmas several of them were surprised that at my “advanced age” I would entertain the idea of learning how to play the guitar. Now let me just state for the record I am 47 years old and though aware that things are changing (like the fact that I cannot write this without wearing my reading glasses) I hardly have one foot in the grave. I guess a lot of people believe that when you get to a certain point some things are outside your grasp as “new endeavors” but really? Learning to play the guitar at 47? Am I missing something?
I have been thinking about this quite a bit these last few days and there are many directions it pulls my thoughts. But my mind keeps referring back to the idea of “The Bucket List”. “The Bucket List” a term made popular by a 2007 Rob Reiner film of the same name, is a simple concept. It refers to that mental (or for some of us – physical) list of things we would like to do before we “kick the bucket”. In the movie, two terminally ill men set out to fulfill a laundry list of wishes before their time runs out. But why wait until you are knocking on death’s door to start living your life and doing the things that you want to do? And who makes the rules about what you can pursue and when? Whose life is it anyway?
A few years ago, I started to think about hang-gliding quite a bit. Here again, I had, had a lifelong fascination with flying, I often dreamt about flying as a child and somewhere inside me I never let that sensation go. Hang-gliding seemed like the closest method available for what my mind’s eye often envisioned. (Concurrently, I should point out that I really don’t like airplanes and actually have a pretty significant and irrational fear of that kind of flying, which I have to conquer every time I travel). Somehow the idea of hang-gliding had come into my mind and I realized that for years I had dismissed it saying to myself, “you are not the kind of person to do something like that.” But a curious voice in my head demanded that I consider this one simple question; “Why not?” And though I thought about it long and hard I was unable to produce a satisfactory reply. So, off I went – and to this day I can still feel the breeze on my smiling face as I looked down and saw a hawk soaring BELOW me! Extra-ordinary…
So as we step off into a new day, on this the first day of 2010, the beginning a new decade – here are a couple of questions for you to ponder. What’s on your list? What choices are you going to make today to get you closer to living your dreams? And when you stand at the end of your life looking back do you want to be able to say “I should have…” or “I did…”
Happy New Year!