When I'm 80, I want to know I lived more than I worked.
No one has ever gotten old and said, “I wish I would have worked more” or “I’m glad I worked late all those nights.”
I saw this quote several months ago, and in that moment, I realized that life is about living. It is about being. It is about doing. Work is important, but it should be in support of doing the things you love.
In thinking about this quote, I kept considering what I would be like when I become an old lady. When I’m 95 years old, do I want to be telling the stories about how I worked late nights at the expense of seeing my friends or travelling? Do I want to tell stories about some report I wrote? And, then I considered, will I even remember those miniscule tasks. These things are not what long-lasting memories are made of. I believe that long-lasting memories are made when all of your senses are engaged.
About 18 months ago, I specifically took on a consulting project where I would be training community members because I knew it would be a great opportunity to develop my conversational Spanish skills. I would be working in two communities, one about 20 minutes east of Downtown Los Angeles, and a second community in South Los Angeles. Both of these communities have a large Spanish-speaking population, and I saw these jobs as an opportunity to serve communities and to build my ability to facilitate sessions in Spanish Language.
Over the last 18 months, I have been more of a student than a teacher in this community work. But, I’ve worked a lot. I’ve been blessed to have a large consulting portfolio. But, all I was doing was working.
One night, I was developing a presentation at 2:00am in the morning for a 9:00am session, and a quick visit to Facebook presented that quote about getting old and what will you really remember. I was, again, reminded how important it is for me to take time to enjoy my life in non-work related activities. To travel. To have adventures. To make memories.
My mom was diagnosed with cancer back in 2004, and I don’t think she really began having adventures until then. She got a passport, and travelled to Mexico, twice, followed by trips to Jamaica, and Paris.
And, I think this is pretty common. Something drastic happens in life (you get fired, divorced, get a terminal health diagnosis, have your condition cured), and then we decide we’re going to have that adventure. Something about a moment when we come to realize “life’s short” and we want to savor every moment.
Well, I don’t want to get sick or have a tragedy before I decide to claim my adventures. Why don’t we live each day with the Mantra “Life’s Short”, and intentionally choose to make each day an adventure? You know--make each day another opportunity to live out our dreams.
Soapbox aside, all of these musings are behind why I decided to pack my bags and spend 5 weeks living in Mexico. To study Spanish. To have an adventure in a new city, forced to use a different language. To be absorbed into a different culture. To find a home in the unknown.
I’ll be blogging about these adventures. The people I meet, the food I cook, the things that tantalize my sense.