Every year, I set out a list of goals for every area of my life, including adventure. This summer, I had the grand pleasure of checking a lifetime goal off of my “life list”. As a certified adrenaline junkie, I’ve climbed mountains and gone white-water rafting, but I had not yet enjoyed the ultimate rush: skydiving!
My friends and I went to the Parachute School of Toronto, opted to jump tandem (where you are strapped to an experienced skydiver) and suited up. By lunchtime, we were airborne and heading up to 13,500 feet. We were far above the clouds, over 4 kilometers up, and we could see the large square outlines of the farmers fields far below. When it came my turn to jump, I’ll have to admit that I’m glad I was strapped to someone experienced… there was no time for hesitation!
Just imagine yourself stepping off of the edge of an airplane into open air with the Earth four kilometers below. If you’ve ever been nervous jumping off of a diving tower into a pool, imagine magnifying the experience a thousand-fold. The first 5 seconds are terrifying: your heart jumps into your throat as you begin freefall. But once you reach full speed, you have no sensation of falling, except for the rushing wind. You plummet towards the Earth at 200km/hr for almost a full minute! It was like being in a convertible with the top down going full speed. We passed right through a cloud, with grey mist surrounding us in all directions. My guide yanked the ripcord, and floated gently to Earth a few minutes later. When we landed, I couldn’t wait to go again! It was like the ultimate roller coaster.
I share this experience because it was at the top of my “life list”. The idea of creating a list of lifetime goals has recently been popularized in a wonderful movie called “The Bucket List”, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. In the movie, two old retirees decide to write a list of everything they want to do in life before they “kick the bucket”. It is a wonderful story, and they conclude their remaining years with deep adventure and reconciliation of relationships.
I share these examples because I believe that each of us has a list inside of us waiting to be accomplished. What is on YOUR list? Is it to travel to Australia? To fly a fighter jet? To climb Mt Kilimanjaro? To write a book? To build a summer camp for disadvantaged kids? I believe that if we allow ourselves to dream, we would admit that we want many great things from our lives.
The movie “The Bucket List” highlights the one grave mistake that most people make: the majority of people believe that the greatest accomplishments in life should be left for “someday”. Personally, I don’t want to leave everything I want to do in life till old age, because I have NO IDEA when I’m going to pass away. I might have a car accident on the way home tonight. Our time is precious and uncertain. As the ancient Roman philosopher Horace said, “Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.” Don’t wait forever to live your life; decide to check something off of your bucket list every year.