The one positive I’ll acknowledge about growing older: I no longer take life for granted. As a young person, I used to think, “I’ll do X, Y, and Z when I become famous and make a million dollars.” (Yes, I suffered from delusions of grandeur.) But as I’ve grown not only older, but more mature, I realize how quickly I turned from a 24 year old into a 44 year old and I never did do X, Y, or Z. So I’m doing them now. I’ve published two books. I’ve flown across canyons harnessed only to a zip line. I’m even acting in a short film I wrote that a friend is directing.
And disasters such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan only bring home the urgency to live now. After all, as a Californian, whenever the San Andreas fault decides to shake off its pent-up energy, I could find myself floating in the Pacific on what used to be a chunk of the Santa Monica pier. So while I can, I’m going to slow life down and speed it up at the same time. By slow it down, I mean I’m going to stop and smell the roses while tip-toeing with Tiny Tim through the tulips. In non-clichéd terms, I am going to do my damnedest to enjoy the small moments in life: walking the dog, reading a book, writing a blog. And to speed up my life (at least my heart rate), I’m going to dust off that bucket list and shake myself up before the Big Quake does so by crossing off some long-held aspirations. For years, the top of that list has denoted my desire to parachute out of a plane (see blog entry from November 29). I need events to mark time in my life. I suppose not having children has made my adult years fail to distinguish themselves. Year thirty-two feels like year thirty-eight which feels like year forty-three. So instead of watching my kids grow up, I opt for extreme sports. At least one extreme sport every forty years or so. Any parents out there who feel similarly moved to hurl themselves out of an airplane (perhaps because of your kids), feel free to join me. Otherwise, I’ll be parachuting and pursuing other creative ways to mark time on my own. If nothing else, I’ll have memories to ruminate on as I’m clinging to my piece of the post-quake pier.