Have you ever thought about what you want most out of life? More importantly have you ever thought about what value and measure you give to those around you? One of the best parts of this later summer season and especially August is time to contemplate, look into and at ourselves, our behaviors and goals. In the movie "The Bucket List," Jack Nicholson's character, Edward Cole, uses the phrase "like smoke through a keyhole" to describe how quickly a life passes.Nicholson's character and another character played by Morgan Freeman are both diagnosed with terminal, inoperable cancer and given less than a year to live. Freeman's character narrates and quotes a survey that states that 96 percent of us would prefer to not know the exact date and time of our death.
Count me in that group.
What a morbid thought to carry through life. Besides the dread knowing your "death date" would bring, also foreboding are the choices knowing this information would force us to face. We all go around as if time is a constant and never ending natural resource. While we know logically that this isn't true, we still live our days thinking there's plenty of time for us to achieve what we truly want. we truly want. There's plenty of time for us to give back to those for whom we have great affection and love. "The Bucket List" and real life people like the late inspirational professor Randy Pausch, who just passed away a few weeks ago, show us that time is extremely finite.
"The Bucket List" is a special film mainly because it provokes us to think. Are we on the right path? How do we know which path to be on at all? What value and responsibility do we take on to help others? These are difficult questions which would be made even more difficult if we knew our time to answer them was limited, as it was for Randy Pausch and for the main characters in "The Bucket List."
Fortunately for most of us, we won't be at this morbid crossroads in the near future and here's hoping it stays that way for a long, long time. That said, doesn't that make the point? We, who arguably have an abundant amount of time, are the worst when it comes to making good use of it.
When was the last time you looked at your relationships with those closest to you? When was the last time you focused on your growth academically, in your career, or spiritually?
Life's not supposed to be mundane, but as a country and community do we work as hard as we could in building our lists of important things to accomplish? Too often the answer is "no."
"Find the joy in your life" and in your life "find time to give joy to others" is another piece of advice from the "The Bucket List." If you're a younger person, one of the best places to start is with an older family member or relative. Seniors among us offer great perspective which allows us all to look at ourselves, our choices and our goals in a clearer way.
Often times religious leaders and community activists can also lend guidance. Maybe a simple conversation with an old friend and mentor will help you get started. Take advantage of the time you have regardless of your age. Because "like smoke through a keyhole," someday you'll look back. Will it be all you hoped it would? Time, as it always does, will tell.
Enjoy the remainder of your summer. See 'ya around town.
David DiRenzo, a Milford Township resident, is a sales manager for a radio station based in Philadelphia. He can be reached on his Web site and blog, www.onemansview.net.