You probably have heard Tim McGraw singing these imperative words from his heart? McGraw’s popular song reflects in part his loneliness of growing up without his father, Tug McGraw, major league pitcher. Tim finally connected with Tug when he was an adult, only to have him die of cancer at age fifty-eight. McGraw says one of the lessons learned by not having a father around was to be sure to be there for his three kids. He says, “being a father is the most important job you’ll ever have” and that he wants “to make sure I’m a lot better dad than I had.”
I can really relate to that since I had a Dad who was working most of the time and came down with Alzheimers at fifty-five. I never got to know that man. What a shame – for both of us.
A few years ago I ran into someone I had known in a prior life while assisting the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Joe was close to eighty when I caught up with him. He spoke of his wife contracting cancer and having only a year to live. He asked her what she wanted to do with this final stage of her life. “I want to live til I die” she said to him. Thus they spent that final year traveling throughout theUnited Statesper her wishes. Joe said that was a very special year, in which they had a lot of fun and closeness while staving off the final call.
Some people go through life just existing, coasting into the final stop. Others live vigorously and joyfully without whining about aging infirmities. Which type might you be? How would you characterize those people with whom you spend much of your time?
My mother is ninety four years young. She spends her days on the computer, reading, playing Bridge and other card games, and doing crossword puzzles. In her latter years she traveled to Russia, Greece, Ireland, in addition to Vail, Park City, and Beaver Creek on ski vacations with us. She helped found the local Alzheimer’s chapter inGreen Bayafter my father died from it. She played tennis and golf till close to eighty. She lives with us now and maintains a positive spirit and a consistent smile What a role model!
Do you need to turn off snooze control, get off the couch, and put the pedal to the metal to participate more fully in life? Are you just going through the motions of everyday boring routine? What might invigorate your life with extra zest? Is there something you are aching to do but not sure if you have the energy or money to do? May you not be in a position toward the end of your life when you might say, “I wish I had done X Y or Z. This is not a dress rehearsal. Carpe diem – “Live like you were dying!”
P.S. Trying to “practice what I preach”. Just returned from a wonderful week in Costa Rica celebrating my wife Sherry’s birthday!