Wednesday, May 8, 2013

An Urgent Message

All dressed up and no place to go.
This is an URGENT MESSAGE to anyone that will be older tomorrow than they are today. It is a theme you’ve heard from me before, but here I can give an actual example. I’d like to say the reason I haven’t posted in a few days is because we’ve been off on a paddling trip. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. The lesson is to get on with it, regardless of what ‘it‘ is. Or, as Nike says, “Just do it!” The longer you wait, and the older you get, the more likely that your decisions will be made by circumstance, rather than by you. Whether for retirement, or when the kids grow up, move out of the house, go off to college, whatever, WAITING is not a solution; it is an excuse. Illness can strike anyone and at any time, but as you age, personal and family issues, and health problems all increase exponentially. Waiting for a better day, a better time, just increases the likelihood that ‘it’ will never happen. You need to decide how important your bucket list is. You need to be passionate about your passion. If it’s more important than a fancier car, bigger house, or impressing the neighbors or coworkers, then you need to get on with it. As the Pardey’s have always said, “Go small, go cheap, go now.”

So, after a week’s preparation, we were all packed and ready to go. In twelve hours we would be on our way to do a 108 mile paddle. There were four of us going on the trip. The afternoon before departure, one member of the party started feeling ill. They were certain the poor feeling would pass, and they didn’t want to inconvenience or disappoint anyone else. They toughed it out until evening, when discomfort became pain. Within a couple hours, pain became crippling. The inevitable decision was made, and the call went out to cancel the trip.

They headed to the clinic as soon as it opened in the morning. The clinic shipped them off to the emergency ward as soon as the blood tests came back with a white cell count of 14,000. The emergency ward arranged for the admission to the hospital, and antibiotics were started by IV to combat the infection. Since it was impossible to eat or drink, hydration fluids were done by IV as well. The paddling trip turned into a four-day hospital stay. The obvious good news is that the health problem was handled, they are feeling better, and got real food to eat last night for the first time in three days. The greatest blessing in all this is that the problem surfaced before departure rather than in the middle of a river trip.

The greater the number of days that pass, those days that will never come again, the greater the odds one of your trips will end this unexpectedly. This is not anyone’s fault. It just serves to emphasize that the older you get, the greater the odds that the unexpected can be expected. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and there is no tomorrow as good as today. The weeds, grass, painting, and the thousand other supposedly urgent tasks are guaranteed to still be there when you get back. Get on with it.