My wife gave me the book “This I Believe” for Christmas in 2007. In it I read the epitaph of Nelson Algren – “The Journey is all.” But to make it my own, I say it this way; Life is an hour glass – This I believe. But the sand does not just flow through like in a regular every day hour glass; it must be forced through by taking a chance; creating a memory; living a day that was truly memorable for me and the one with whom I shared it. A day on the couch watching television alone moves no grain of sand through my hour glass. It was as if I did not live that day. I was alive, but I did not live. Climbing a mountain in Maine with the love of my life; that moves a grain of sand from the top to the bottom. Cutting down the family Christmas tree on a snowy December day with 6 children in tow; that moves a grain of sand. Skydiving on my 40th birthday moved a grain of sand; skydiving with my 18 year old son on his birthday moved a whole pile.
My goal is to force every grain of sand from the top to the bottom. If I fail, I damn well better have more on the bottom than on the top. I love to take risks. But they don’t seem like risks to me. They are simply experiences. Every experience enriches me. I love to do something, anything I have not done before and be richer for the experience.
I have two favorite quotes. The first is from the movie Braveheart. Just before he is put to death William Wallace proclaims “Every man dies, but not every man really lives.” The second is from the great poet Robert Frost – “Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
I live my life every day, and always on the road less traveled. If on my final day, I look into my hour glass and find more grains of sand on the top than on the bottom, then I have failed; failed myself, my children and all those who love me. For life is fuller when it is full of memories created with those you love, in those moments of time that force a grain from the top to the bottom.
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