About four weeks ago, I was walking around selling lawn care door-to-door in a NW Calgary neighborhood and saw an older gentleman smoking a cigar on his driveway. His garage was open and inside was a circle of chairs. I decided to make conversation and we ended up talking for a good half an hour.
It turns out he was preparing the garage for a party the following night to celebrate his daughters 45th birthday. I congratulated him on having the honour and then we started talking about life. I’m not sure how we got started but I basically told him how my wife and I have made travel a priority over the last few years and how I’ve created online sources of income to support a limitless lifestyle. He was also very amused that I took a door-to-door sales job just to learn some sales skills, be less shy, put myself in an uncomfortable situation and really challenge myself.
Then he told me about his career in sales, his daughter and then his retirement. He was telling me that he and his wife had planned to do more extensive travelling once they retired and had more time. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
“My wife has dementia” he told me.
His eyes drifted down in sadness. I was shocked and told him I was sorry to hear. He then told me, “It’s funny how we joke now and then. I used to say that we’ve been married almost 50 years, which is like serving two life sentences in prison. Maybe now I can finally be free.” He followed by, “Be careful what you wish for.”
It’s funny how life works out. Like most people, he and his wife left much of their dreams for retirement with a plan that they would have more time – but unfortunately, life doesn’t have any plans. Life is a day to day organism. We might live to be 100 or we might die before we reach our teens.
Don’t wait to start living.
I have no idea about this mans life. Maybe they did do some pretty cool things. Maybe they didn’t. But I can certainly tell you that he didn’t plan on sending his wife into a special home as soon as they retired. She doesn’t even know who he is anymore.
It’s scary but it’s life.
Growing up, the story I heard from most of the people I know was work, work, work so that you could save up money and finally crush some long-awaited dreams when you hit 65 years of age. At first, I went with it, thinking the same thing. After all, it was the only story I had been told. Then one day I decided that was really stupid logic.
I’m not going to wait to live. I am going to live right now.
That’s when I moved to a new city, made new friends, started learning new things like salsa dancing, joined a Dale Carnegie program to learn how to public speak, tried out for the olympic speed skating team just for fun, completely changed my body in 12 weeks, and started doing all kinds of thrills from world-class roller coasters to sky-diving over New Zealand. I finally realized my dream of travelling solo for six months and have been travelling with my wife now for the last four years.
I’ve always wanted to be my own boss so I started getting involved in online business and created Canadian Free Flyers, one of many businesses I’ll start to support myself.
I’ve always wanted to write so I started this blog, along with a couple others.
I’ve always wanted to see the world and have since been to 20 countries in the last four years, taking time to actually absorb the country and its culture.
I’ve always wanted to inspire people to live limitless and this blog is helping me do that. I’m no Tony Robbins yet but even inspiring a few dozen or a few hundred people is pretty incredible!
I have a lot of things I’d like to do in life and I’m certainly not going to wait until I reach retirement. In fact, I don’t want to retire. As long as I’m enjoying life and enjoying what I do, why would I ever want to retire?
This man was still full of life and I’m so happy I stopped to talk to him. He was enlightened by my zest for life and that I was willing to put myself in uncomfortable situations to grow and learn. It’s extremely unfortunate for his wife to get that terrible disease and I can’t imagine how awful it must be.
This is what writing is for. This is what social media is really for. This is what music and movies are for – To tell stories so we can put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and learn from their life.
Don’t leave everything to the end. Don’t wait to create that art you’ve been dreaming of. Don’t wait to visit that country that calls you. Don’t wait to tell that person you love them or to hug them and kiss them. Don’t work just for works sake, only to wake up in thirty years and regret all of them.
There’s always a better way. Whatever it is you want to do. Begin it now.
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.
Open it up.
I’d love to hear what YOU think of this article. Does it resonate? What’s your thoughts and opinions? Leave a comment below
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