Tuesday, 19 March 2013

My Life

Just because I am sad about today does not mean I regret yesterday. I look back and I see a life people write books about. I have lived an extraordinary life.

I have sailed open seas, climbed mountains, hunted big game and had it hunt me back, seen the midnight sun and the sands of the Arab desert, felt the pounding rain of the tropics and the freezing mist of the open Atlantic. I've driven all over North America, England and much of Europe. I've driven ice roads, dirt roads, back roads, empty roads, crowded roads and every kind of highway at every kind of speed you can imagine.

I've visited amazing cities both ancient and modern and wilderness a thousand miles broad. I've stood at the top of the Empire State Building and the bottom of a dripping, cold, crystal encrusted cave. I've fished for salmon on the open ocean and in the rivers of BC, for cod in Newfoundland, for trout in Ontario, for pike in Alberta, for marlin in Hawaii, for barracuda in Florida and for Arctic Char in Tuktoyaktuk.

I've driven my truck up mountain roads and ridden my motorcycle through the valleys. I've flown in jets and gliders and helicopters and small planes. I've skippered everything from my own sailboat to a small canoe, from an open tin boat to a coastal cruiser. I've ridden horses, camels, cows and even a goat once. I've walked the open tundra, been dune-bashing in the desert, and driven Canada coast to coast to coast.

I've seen whales breach next to my boat, dodged dolphins while under way, fed eagles from the afterdeck and chased herons and seals off the foredeck. I've canoed open mountain lakes and kayaked up ocean inlets and outlets. I've eaten almost every kind of food you can imagine, and some you probably can't. I've dined in five star restaurants in South Africa and eaten at road side stands in Tobago. I've shopped for spices in the Middle East, suits in London, fashions in Milan, serapes in Tijuana and cracklins in Louisiana.

I have enjoyed classical opera and ballet, been to rock concerts and folk fests, played bagpipes in a pipe band, played my guitar for a beautiful woman on a beach. I've given somebody I didn't know money for no reason at all, simply because I thought they needed it. I've helped strangers, friends, family and even foes. I've built houses up and torn them down, seen the sunrise from a mill deck along the Fraser River, seen the mist rise from the meadow and the rain fall in Dubai.

I have lived a fearless, full life. It's not that I have never been afraid; these days I am much afraid. I just never saw a lot of sense in letting that fear stop me from living. I've lived a life that went beyond a zero sum game, where it was always possible to go out and find something more, more to do, more to love, more to live.

In terms of a bucket list, mine is very short. For much of my life I've lived as if each day was my last. I've seen something I wanted to do and found a way to do it. When choosing in my work/life balance, life, either on my own or with my family, always won the weigh-in. When deciding between doing it today or delaying for some potential future, I always chose today, or as soon as possible.

And now this.

If I have learned anything from all this, it is that delaying today in the hope of something better tomorrow is always a bad idea. Putting aside now for some doubtful, misty future will never lead you to a full life. In fact living in a hold out for the future simply means you miss today.

Never give up the moment. Live before you die. When I die, I will know I have lived.