"I guess it comes down to a simple choice really... you can get busy living... or you can get busy dying"
This last year was particularly sad for me in that several people I knew returned to the earth...
I suppose it’s an inevitable fact as I grow older... they say that there are only two certainties in life... and one of them is taxes.
In the United States, men and women live to the age of 76 and 81 respectively.
When we think of averages, we might think back to that statistics class that we took in college and conger up images of a standardized bell-shaped curve in our heads; both sides of the curve being equally distributed on either side of the average.
Unfortunately that’s not the reality. The truth is that there are very few people who pass on during their first 40 years on earth especially from natural causes. But as we age beyond 40, the law of averages soon plays catch up.
Additionally, as we grow older, we have more time to meet and befriend more and more people.
Our circle of influence grows concentrically as we expand our pool of friends, relatives and acquaintances over the years. It is completely predictable and expected that we tend to know several multiples of people more as a 50-year old as we did as a 10-year old.
Just by knowing more people, creates a greater probability that we’ll lose someone we know and/or love.
Some of the people I lost last year were older... my children lost their great-grandmother... who breathed her last breath at the extended age of 102.
Some of the people I lost last year were younger... my brother lost his wife to a sudden brain aneurysm at the early age of 46.
Others were valiant fighters to the end like my father-in-law, Jim or my fraternity brother, Rich...
Each of the people I lost each had their very own story to tell... they touched hundreds of people with their hearts and gentle spirits... and made the world a slightly better place.
The people who knew them are greatly saddened by their passing...
One of the great lessons I have learned from these losses is that life is indeed fleeting and that we need to live each day as though it could be our last... because in reality... it just could be.
In 2011, a group of friends and I all made it to the age of 50 years old.
We decided as a group to do something memorable to mark our silver anniversary of our birth. So I led our small group on a 650 mile bicycle journey down the coast of California over the course of 9 days.
The ride was one for the ages as we checked yet another item off our bucket list.
Three weeks later we lost one member of our group, Lori Barney, also ironically to a brain aneurysm. Proving the point made above that life is only temporary and we need to live each day as if it were our last.
In 2016, that same group will attempt to complete yet another feat of strength and endurance in pursuit of another bucket list item... although the exact details of that adventure are still in the planning stages.
I recently saw a commercial archived on YouTube that has now become one of my all-time favorite spots.
IKEA - Start Something New
The advertisement was produced by IKEA but in reality... the viewer really has no idea that they are even watching a commercial until the very end.
The basic premise of the film is that we can get old, sit around on the same old park bench, feeding pigeons with our pals every day, waiting for our eventual end to arrive...
But we don’t have to follow this path... we can go out and transform our perspective... change our seat... move our stars...
We can learn to dance. We can try new foods. Ride trains to foreign lands. Play new games. We can sign Karaoke. We can meet new people. We can make friends wherever we go.
The story of our lives is still being written and we are the authors.
Our lives still hold the promises of adventure... of learning new things... and most importantly sharing our stories with others... while we are still here on this side of the earth.
We want so badly to live life out loud... but sometimes we let our fears, biases and prejudices hold us back...
They stop us from dreaming... they stop us from believing... they stop us from acting.
This is especially true as we grow older... we feel as though we can not take the risk... because if we do fail, fall or stumble... there is not enough time in the race to make up the lost time...
We feel the need to play it safe... we simply have too much to lose at this point in our lives... so we wait on the sidelines instead of getting in the game...
We procrastinate until another day... that magic day in the future when we’ll get motivated to do something... but that day never seems to come...
Instead of doing the important... we do the urgent...
Instead of creating something new... we settle for maintaining what we have...
Instead of future adventures... we live in the past...
Instead of living... we look for ways to stave off death for yet one more day...
Growing old is a fact... acting old is an option.
Our fate is not cast until we breathe our last breath...
We have two choices... we can get busy living or we can get busy dying...
Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we know that life is precious and should be lived to the fullest.
Jim Kalb President
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter - @OptiFuse
Website - www.optifuse.com
Blog - www.optifuse.blogspot.com