When the day comes when you are watching huge amounts of Wheel of Fortune, when you are taking more pills for more ailments then you could have ever imagined…when you, on some days, never get out of bed…..when you are deep into the winter of your years……
I think, at that time in your life, there is a good chance that many of us will be feeling like we should have “stood up” for more things and more people. We should have been more thoughtful when we were connecting with others, said more encouraging and supportive things…celebrated greatness, and even goodness.
We might be feeling like we should have spent more time trying to empathize and help other people and less time chasing after sex, money, and power.
We might have wished we had stood more on principle…that we had spoken out more for Truth and Dignity. We will almost certainly wish we had said “Yes” to Life more often. Will we have wished that we would have “raised more hell”, and reflected more “heaven”?
We might wish that we had climbed more mountains….taken more chances….acted more fearlessly….”held on” to less things….clung less to security…listened less to the “experts” and the “institutions” and more to intuition and the heart. Might we have wished that we had wandered more on the “road less traveled”, and listened more to the beat of that different drummer?
At that moment it will be too late….the opportunity will have been lost…and as F. Scott Fitzgerald said in his short story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button……”our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss”
I am reminded of a speech Steve Jobs gave at the 2005 Stanford Commencement….
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I have ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything, all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure, these things just fall away in the face of death…..leaving only what is truly important. …remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."