The reality, “Life, it goes faster than you think.” A look of knowing was on my father’s face when he shared that sage advice with me so many years ago. He gazed at me with a firm stare, accompanied with a certain twinkle in his eye. His raised eyebrow silently exclaiming, “you’ll see what I mean son, one day, you’ll see.” For him, that reality had long set in.
Well, that day, as is with my dear father, have both long passed but he was quite correct. I do see now, in fact, I see only too well. It’s not that death scares me. I am a firm believer in the afterlife and even if it weren’t so, I’d never know the difference when that moment came anyway. But what I will know is how I am feeling in those months or days ahead of my imminent demise. It’s that very thought that scares me a hell of a lot more. It’s not so much a fear of regret as it a sense of missed opportunity. You see, it’s my personal belief that we live many lives. Reincarnation is just an idea that makes more sense to me than others. It doesn’t have to for you. Your Truth is your Truth and I am cool with that but I am the one living my life. Reincarnation presupposes that you are here to experience various situations and people and as a result of these varying experiences and relationships you learn and you grow. Forever evolving into a grander version of Self. That’s what it’s all about for me now as I approach the fourth quarter of this game of life. Cars and houses and shiny objects, well they are fine in and of themselves but for me, experience trumps all of that.
Here is my reality, I screwed up a lot in my younger years. I didn’t take my father’s advice to heart and, as a result, blew off opportunity after opportunity. I settled for mediocrity instead of demanding excellence of myself. I drank too much, smoked too much, was way too complacent about my life. There’s always tomorrow right, I’ll do it then. But tomorrow never came. We all know that old adage, “People don’t plan to fail they just fail to plan.” But there is no such thing as failure in my worldview. I don’t look at life as consisting of winners and losers. You can’t when you believe in your core that you have already and will still live innumerable lives. It just doesn’t jive. No, it’s not about winning or losing but rather simply wanting to have done your very best in life and at this juncture, I can’t lie, I haven’t. So I am now left feeling that I still have so much more to give and so very many more things to do. I am not alone in these thoughts, that I know for sure. I was going to write about finance and quote all kinds of stats that prove I am lumped in together with you and you and you. There are so many more just like me. Grant me though just one thought so I can kind of encapsulate the point I am attempting to make. The U.S. Social Security Board reports that 85 out of 100 Americans who reach age 65 will have less than $250. Worse yet, only 2% will be self-sustaining with the rest relying on family, church, and government. The average household has a grand total of $14,000 in retirement savings at 65. That’s some sobering and scary shit. Let’s face it, for most of us world travel will be just a pipe dream. Heck, we’ll be lucky if we can even pay our bills. Do you really think that all those seniors you see working at McDonald’s and Tim Hortons are doing so because they love it so much? Get real. They have to keep working, as will most of us. It’s a stark reality many of us will have to come to terms with sooner of later. Working at what though? Well, that’s where we may still be able to exercise a bit of control. But our time short and the learning curve steep. Other’s will tell you that world travel isn’t their thing and that they are quite happy to remain around their homes as they advance in age. That’s all well and good and I can respect that, it’s just not good enough for me, that’s all. I do sometimes wonder though if they are just telling themselves to appease a tired heart. If they have just lost hope and can no longer see a path that would take them to a place that they don’t dare dream about. That’s neither here nor there, though, because regardless of which way it is, Doyen Digital Nomads isn’t for them. It’s a community of and for people who still want to head out and experience life adventures Bilbo Baggins style. To live in other countries, experience other cultures, befriend expats and locals while tasting foreign delicacies. I mean, it’s crazy to me when you consider how most of us think in our runaway society. We live for the weekend, TGIF we say. We proclaim that it’s “hump day” with some eager anticipation of what exactly? A few bread crumbs. Working tirelessly month after month, year after year, so that hopefully we can finally afford for ourselves a one-week getaway to some cheap resort with bland food and water downed drinks. Only to rush back a short seven days later to jobs we hate, thinking and believing that it really wasn’t even all that worth it. And we are the lucky ones in all of this craziness, fortunate enough to have at least gone somewhere to temporarily escape the stress and anxiety of our daily lives. Crazier still is the fact that we accept that this is just the way it is. It’s pure insanity. We all deserve better. Every one of us.
So it comes down to right here and right now. What are you going to do? What am I going to do? Well, I for one am going to do my damnedest to avoid the reality I fear most. That’s getting to the end of my days and reflecting back thinking, “Oh, I could have traversed quaint towns lost in time and cities of indescribable splendor but I chose to get drunk instead.” “I could have hiked deep canyons or stood in awe of majestic mountains but I decide to get stoned in lieu.” “I might have sailed on deep blue seas and swam in endless warm oceans but I was too afraid.” “I may have awoken to endless desert skies or fallen under the spell of a pale orange western sunset but I doubted it possible.” No, it’s not going to end that way for me. Not a chance in hell. I can’t let it, I won’t let it. It’s one thing when someone else lets you down but it’s quite another when you yourself do so. Robin Sharma put it best in my estimation, “Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.”
I recently formed Doyen Digital Nomads to bring together like-minded GenXers and baby boomers who still hold out hope for their lives. A community of believers and dreamers who will support one another, share resources and ideas and, in the end, celebrate their successes together. I don’t know at this early stage of the journey what will become of Doyen Digital Nomads but I do know that I have to at least try. I owe myself that.