Don't Delay – Do It Now!

by DavalosMcCormack on August 28, 2008

Life is full of ironies. So, it seems, is death. Dave Freeman, the co-author of the best selling book 100 Things To Do Before You Die died earlier this month after hitting his head in a fall at his home in Venice California. Freeman was just 47 years old. Way too young by any stretch of the imagination.

According to family and friends he had only done about half of the things listed in the book before he passed away. At 47 he wasn’t middle aged, he was barely mid life.

It’s a reminder that we can’t take anything for granted. That all we have is now and that we need to appreciate it as much as we can, and share it with those who matter most to us.

I don’t look at a death like Freeman’s and think “oh what a waste” because from what I’ve read he was trying to cram as much into his life as he could. He was truly alive. The waste would have been if he hadn’t done that, if he was thinking about doing it soon, at some point, in the future, when he had the time.

The truth is no one knows if they have the time. Or how much time they have. Some of us may not even have enough time to go out and buy Freeman’s book and read it. Others will have decades stretching out ahead of us. All that matters is how we use them.

I was reminded of that this morning after Shirley and I were playing squash. We have pretty flexible rules, none of that silly get to it on the first bounce stuff; in our game you get to it as quickly as you can; one bounce is great, two is acceptable, three, well if that’s as fast as you can do it then that’s fine too. It’s not pretty but it is a heck of a lot of fun. Lots of sweating, laughing, hurling ourselves around the court.

Then I watched some of the others playing, one man in particular. He carries himself as if the weight of the world were on his back. He walks with shoulders slumped, a flat, plodding gait and a glum expression on his face. There’s no sense of enthusiasm, no sense of fun. I wondered, how on earth does he get out of bed in the morning if that’s how he feels about something as fun as squash. How does he get through the rest of the day?

I suspect he is well off because his locker is in one of the really expensive parts of the gym. But he doesn’t seem to take any pleasure in his money. So that leaves me wondering what he does take pleasure in. If he does.

Obviously, these are all questions I can’t answer. But it does help to remind me that none of the surface trappings in life really amount to much if you are not happy.

I heard an interview with former ABC Nightline anchor Ted Koppell a while back. Koppell was promoting a documentary he did on cancer and was talking about a neighbor of his in a very swanky apartment building in Manhattan. He saw the man in the lobby and asked how he was doing, “oh, circling the drain you know, just circling the drain.”

Can you imagine waking up every day and the only thing you think about is how soon you’ll die. What a waste of life. Which leads me to feel all the more how important it is not to wait, but to live, and to enjoy it, while you can.

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