Four years ago this week, my husband almost died. One moment I was cracking jokes about man-flu, wondering if he had a chest infection and needed antibiotics; the next, we were in an ambulance heading for the resuscitation room. It was a very, very close-run thing, but with the help of the fantastic staff at the Whittington Hospital in North London, he pulled through and is (almost) as good as new.
I’m embarrassed to admit that while it was happening, we had no idea how much trouble we were in. We were too busy worrying about whether my husband would have to give up wine and asking if he’d be on his feet in time to go to the ballet the following week. Even when the consultant said “I think that’s the least of your problems,” the penny didn’t drop. It wasn’t until much later that I got the shakes.
I’m sharing this because there will never be a better day to say don’t take tomorrow for granted. If there’s anything that you’ve always promised yourself you would do, no matter if it’s trivial or life-changing, do it today.
Do it now.
Don’t wait for somebody else to make the first move. Don’t leave it until you’ve paid for your house, or the kids are a little older, or you’ve retired. If it’s something you’d want on your ‘done’ list by the time you get to the Pearly Gates, figure out how to make it happen, and take the first step right now. If it’s difficult or risky or time-consuming, embrace it and enjoy the journey as well as the destination.
We’ve missed the boat with a couple of things, but not many. We’ve always loved to travel to remote and beautiful places, usually to watch wildlife, and a few years ago we’d lined up a trip to Papua New Guinea to see Birds of Paradise. Circumstances arose, the trip got canceled, and we never got around to rescheduling. It’s not going to happen now, which is a bummer, but fortunately we’ve picked off most of the other things on our travel bucket list – snorkeled with sea-lions and penguins in the Galapagos, seen the sun rise over Petra, hiked the high mountains of Nepal, India, Pakistan and Bhutan, bush-camped in the Kimberley, seen a Resplendent Quetzal in Costa Rica and lemurs in Madagascar, grizzly bears in British Columbia and polar bears in Spitzbergen. Very glad we didn’t leave any of those for later.
Apart from personal, private stuff, one of the biggest items left on my Pearly Gates list was to write a book. I’m proud to say I achieved that in 2015.
My next big dream is to publish a book. To achieve that I’ll have to develop a whole new skill-set, but with good luck and a following wind, I hope to get there, or at least nail down the timelines, this year.
After that, being greedy, I want to write a whole series (still expecting that to be six books and three novellas) and get them all published before my next landmark birthday in 2020.
Nobody knows what’s around the corner, but today, now, right this moment, my life is in my own hands and I don’t intend to waste a single breath.
What’s the big outstanding ticket on your Pearly Gates list? Is it something you can share? Are you doing something about it?