The interesting thing about growing older is when you reach the point at which you can hear the clock ticking, not in the sense that death is imminent but an awareness of time.
Maybe it comes when you recognize you have been in the working world longer than you were a student or maybe it is triggered by something else.
I don’t know if I can pinpoint one moment in my life as having triggered it, I just know there are some moments where I take a hard look at what I am doing and ask if this is what I want my future to look like.
That is because the goal is to live hard in a way so that whenever I take my final breath I’ll smile because I know I lived a life worth living.
I figure that stopping to think about these things combined with a willingness to ask hard questions will make it more likely to live that way, but I don’t take it as a guarantee either.
Ever Wonder Who You Could Have Been?
You can attribute part of the reason for writing this post to have been inspired by So, Seemingly, Google Thinks I’m Dead and some of the comments.
I suppose it is worth noting this is a significant part of why I believe it is important to offer a commenting section on a blog.
Not only does it provide another tool for building community it can often be the thing that stimulates thought, growth and action.
Anyhoo, that particular post and the banter in the comments reminded me about how there have been moments in my life where I have thought about what it would be like to be a tenured professor at a university.
Ask me to provide more details and I’ll tell you my imagination sees me teaching a few courses about something that I am passionate about but the bulk of my time will be spent on my research.
In my head I see it as being sort of similar to the life we see Indiana Jones living. Granted it is a movie and Dr. Jones is a character but who is to say it is impossible for reality to imitate fiction.
It is not particularly hard to obtain a fedora, bullwhip and pistol, Arks and Grails might be a slightly different story though.
The Dream Is The Important Thing
I have had this conversation with people who have rolled their eyes and told me that having a good imagination can create problems because it trips your focus up but I don’t buy into that.
The dream is almost more important than the willingness to take action because without that dream you have nothing to build upon.
It reminds me of an exchange from Batman Begins:
Henri Ducard: Your parents’ death was not your fault.
[Bruce attacks Ducard with his sword]
Henri Ducard: It was your father’s.
[Bruce furiously attacks Ducard, but is easily defeated]
Henri Ducard: Anger does not change the fact that your father failed to act.
Bruce Wayne: The man had a gun!
Henri Ducard: Would that stop you?
Bruce Wayne: I’ve had training!
Henri Ducard: The training is nothing! The will is everything!
[Ducard bests Bruce once again]
Henri Ducard: The will to act.
It may be a line from a movie, but the will to act is of paramount importance.It is not particularly hard to obtain a fedora, bullwhip and pistolClick To Tweet
Never Wonder Who You Could Have Been?
Some years ago during a trip from Los Angeles to New York the guy sitting next to me told me that his goal was to never look upon his life with regret.
He said “I never wonder who I could have been” but I wondered if he really meant/believed it.
I don’t believe anyone gets through life without regrets or second thoughts about the choices we make. Ask my son about that one and he’ll tell you he has gotten an earful on it.
Those questions about who we are, what we are and why we believe as we do are important and they change over time.
Who I am in my forties is not quite who I was in my twenties. There are similarities but experience has led me down certain paths and they have enabled me to figure out what direction I want to go in.
So sometimes I think about who I am now and who I want to be. Sometimes I look back upon choices and think that given a second chance I would do some things differently.
Maybe the biggest difference between that twenty-something and me now is the ticking of the clock and the knowledge that life can change in a minute.
Call it a deeper respect for time and an effort not to waste it because you never know how much you get.