Why do we fear death so? I'm not going to get all religious or philosophical on you. For me, it's because I enjoy life as much as I do. Still, there comes a time when you stop feeling invincible and you become aware of the time you might have left. We all know that there are no guarantees or implied warranties on our life spans, still, you always expect to have more than you get.
I've got an aging parent and an aunt with some serious health issues. Both are in their 80's and I can say with conviction that they have both lived good lives. What's left now is just the dirty business of "moving on". It's the painful and humiliating act of being helpless before the whole world. I don't proclaim to be an expert on death and dying, I just know that getting old or being very sick can be a messy affair. Thank goodness for the helpful caregivers, healthcare professionals and places like hospice.
We touched on this subject recently, my family and me, and I gave our only child my instructions. I want to be "toes in the sand" someplace warm. Preferably poolside with scantily-clad females running about. I doubt that there exists a hospice on a beach in Florida with a sexy "clothing optional" staff, but maybe it will seem that way after they put me on the morphine drip.
So, I've started to think about the stuff I want to do, places I want to see, etc. Perhaps more important than this, is being to do some of this stuff with my loved ones at my side. I need to get some of these down on paper (or bytes) so that we can plan, negotiate and finance the most important ones. I'm blessed with a beautiful and exciting wife, who has a penchant for exploration. Over time, her desire to have "adventures" has rubbed off on me and now, I too want to fill my eyes with new vistas. The key, of course, is to be able to do this while you are still young or healthy enough to get around.
Without any fanfare, here are just a few of the things that I want to accomplish, before the shepherd's crook yanks me offstage, from the wings:
- Tour the coastal USA. I think a great ride would be a counter-clockwise tour of the country, keeping the beach off your right handlebar as much as you can. I'd blast across the top of the country, tip my hat to Canada, and bomb down the West Coast, after stocking up on supplies in Vancouver.
- I want to ride across the US, in mostly a direct route, riding Route 66, while it still exists. I have family outside of San Francisco and, a ride from New Hampshire to there sounds like a good excuse for a family reunion.
- I want to own a small roadster, preferably a Porsche Boxster S, but I am willing to consider new Mazda Miata, Honda S2000 or Nissan 370Z convertible. I want to drive it sparingly, wax and polish it with a soft cloth and keep it in mint condition to turn over to my son on his 40th birthday. This would be my vehicle for short weekend excursions, when we've given up riding.
- I want to experience Hawaii, Rome, Sicily and Naples, Italy. I want to eat my way through the countryside like Andrew Zimmern sucking on a pig spleen.
- I want to run a few laps at my favorite racetrack, Lime Rock Park, in Connecticut. It was there that we went as kids, so Dad could enjoy the racing. It would put a big smile on my face to drive around that circuit and to think of him watching me.
- Watch my son walk down the aisle.
- Welcome a grandchild into the family (but NOT any time SOON).
- Do a Grand Tour. No, not like a concert tour. I mean to travel around to say hello (or goodbye) to all the people who've meant something to me, in my life.
- Sing with my brothers. Yep, silly stuff but I think that it would be a memorable moment.
- Finally, have that beach view and lifestyle that I've always wished for.
As we face the onset of Winter (a dirty word in this house) I'm tempted to pack my bike and beat it down to a friend's house just outside of Orlando. The weather would still be warm and the beers are always cold. But, I can't pull the missus from her obligations and spending money foolishly now will come back and bite me on my ass.
So, what goals have you set for yourself, before you shuffle off? I'd like to know. Maybe our goals overlap and we can find a way to help one another. Or maybe you have a Boxster you want to loan me for a weekend??? Ride safe!
A low, slow wave,