In the last six months, my two remaining grandparents, my dad’s dad, and my mom’s mom, have passed away. Both of them were fantastic individuals, dedicated to their families. They couldn’t have been more opposite if they tried. Grandpa “Buzz” was a scholastic enthusiast, constantly pushing everyone around him to learn more. “Mimi” was the epitome of the “Southern Belle”, a classic woman born and raised in Alabama who’s spirit was always vibrant. One would feed me books, the other, biscuits and gravy. Their presence in my life now forever seared into my memory. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
In a few months, I’ll hit 25 in age. According to Wikipedia, life expectancy in the US is a little over 77 years old. Take that down to 75 to account for my less than acceptable habits, and I’ve just marked the first third of my life complete. The three generations I grew up with has now reduced down to two.
The question I keep pondering is by what metric is our satisfaction derived from? Accomplishments? Experiences? Financial stability? I think it’s obvious that each of us has to figure that out for ourselves, but do we really contemplate it? Nevertheless act upon its guidance.
I don’t think I’ve figured out my answer yet. It could be something that evolves or that you constantly chase? It’s a question to at least try and get out in front of.
As I sat next to Mimi on her final days, it became clear to me that when you find yourself approaching deaths doorstep, finding salvation might be the most important thing. That salvation isn’t simply a religious experience, although I don’t deny it is the most critical part to some. I put myself in her shoes over and over again. “What would I tell myself? How would I come to terms with the situation?” She loved her life, just as I do. Putting the macho-ness of our masculine society in it’s place for a moment, I’m going to say that I believe the vast majority of us aren’t prepared for that reality. Witnessing someone else I deeply loved and cared for go through that was a wake up call for me.
I’ve made the choice to live a life of broad experiences. As I passively survey my Facebook friends I grew up with, it becomes clear I’ve taken the plunge out of the nest of normality. That’s not to say I’m doing better or worse than others – it just happened to be the decision I made. Look at the United States in the late 1700s. Much of the country continued to develop along the eastern seaboard while others, for whatever their reasoning was, moved west into the unknown. Regardless of the motivation, I deeply understand that thirst.
As the last 25 years has been one hell of a ride, I now look to the future. My salvation lies in that quest to charter the unknown, to brave the storm, and come out on the other side into the oasis untraveled. The wilderness is calling. Time to do what I do best.
Stay tuned for future updates.