“Don’t die with your music still in you…”Wayne Dyer
No matter how long you have been on this planet, there’s something you still need to do.
I remember when my father started going through old papers, notebooks and letters he had stored in my aunt and uncle’s basement in Crestline, California – 5000 feet up in the San Bernardino Mountains…
I found that odd, but I knew what he was up to. He had recently emerged from the hospital after suffering a fall in the shower and developing subdural hematomas, which rendered him incapable of doing basic things like using silverware, holding a cup of tea (his favorite) or even walking.
He had fully improved by the time decided to get rid of that stuff.
I couldn’t have been more than twenty, and I just watched him as he discarded item after item. It was as if he had an agenda, and it seemed to me then that he had a taste of his own mortality and wanted to make sure he “cleaned house.”
He died of an abdominal aortic aneurysm soon after that. That day also happened to be my 21st birthday – the day my twin brother and I were set to party it up. Our friends had a limo ready for us. Let’s just say that was a bust.
The above is not so much a digression as it is a story about what my father felt he had to do, and I kind of wish I had those discarded items to shift through to make better sense of his life and the man he was.
Do the Thing
But this post is not just about getting your house in order before you die; it’s about making sure we don’t depart this mortal coil with our work unfinished – our purpose unfulfilled.
I’m going to be 57 in July. That number is almost unbelievable – and if I let my thoughts run rampant, I am afraid that they will take me to a place of regret – the cursed domain of “should-haves,” “would-haves” and “could-haves.”
I have written before about the value of reconnecting with our inner 12-year-olds to see what resonated with us then. Forget the conventional wisdom that a pre-teen doesn’t yet have the ability to intuit what they want from life. I have a feeling that we all have an inkling of what moves us long before that. It’s only after repeated exposure to those who tell us to stop daydreaming that we begin to lose – or sublimate – our innate and God-given talents.
Look at the people who told you to grow up. Did their lives show any indication of fulfillment? Of joy?
Chances are good that somebody else told them to grow up, thereby continuing a generational beat-down – a downward spiral of error, if you will.
Conform or die.
Always remember this obvious fact: Death is not the exclusive domain of the old. The bell could toll at any time. Earl Nightingale, the Dean of Personal Development, once said something to the effect that if we are on course, the end could come like a snapped piece of film in a reel as we are going about our business.
What do you need to finish?
What do you need to start?
What thing have you talked about for years, for decades, that you never got around to starting?
Believe me, the urge to complete that thing will not stop dogging you. No matter how much you try to avoid it.
The result – bitterness. Regret. Failure to launch. The void.
There is something inside you that needs to be realized – something dear to you that you have cherished since you were little. It is my hope that you dust that off and begin in earnest to nurture that.
From my heart to yours: Start the thing. You will be glad you did.