|Finisher buttons from my dad's dirt bike races|
When we talk about losing important people in our lives, it's usually with a lot of sadness and a profound sense of loss. Grief is usually part of it. I skipped that part and dove straight into an active awareness of my own mortality.
Life is short, folks. I could go to bed tonight and not wake up in the morning. Like my dad, this could be the last Saturday that I kick off my shoes and toss my Levis over the footboard.
"...parent loss is the most potent catalyst for change in middle age and can actually offer us our last, best chance to become our truest, deepest selves." ~ From Death Benefits by Jeanne Safer, Ph.D.
A Sense of Purpose
When my dad died, all of the uncertainty surrounding my own identity went with him. Not because he was a negative guy or because we had a negative relationship. In fact, we had repaired our history during the last decade of his life, and we had a comfortable, easy-going relationship.
"...the more we're emotionally aware of our own mortality, the more we feel compelled to live with a sense of purpose." ~ Chris Guillebeau, 99u
My equation for living has changed. He was a key factor, and then he was no longer there. The summary of my life from that point on had to be recalculated. It wasn't something that I worked on or even needed. I thought that I was pretty content before he died. But, this went right to my core, whether I wanted it or not.
No more apologies. No more compromises. No more tolerance for assholes. Just an absolute certainty that I am no longer willing to waste my time with any of the above.
A Catalyst for Positive Change
Fundamental change for the better can happen well into mid-life when we least expect it. It is the antidote to depression and the remedy for sliding into decrepitude. If my dad could restart his career at the age of 65 and go on to achieve his best work before his 70th birthday, then I can pursue options that I've never considered.
I am no longer in pursuit of a bucket list because lists have endings. For me, every day is the beginning of a new quest.
Live like it's your last day!