Way back almost two years ago, I wrote This Blog about “a friend” who, on the eve of leaving for an extended and long planned Cruising sabbatical, learned that he might have prostate cancer. The spoiler of that post is that the “friend” was me, the story was autobiographical, and in the end, I didn’t have cancer.
But that experience galvanized both of us to LIVE life more, to DO things that mean something to us, to really step up our game, and not just coast through life, easy as that seems sometimes. I can’t say we’ve done that, 100% of the time, but we did sell out and go cruising, we have taken some chances and reaped some rewards we would otherwise have passed up, and we’re still working at it.
Part of that original post mentioned that there were four couples (including me & Nicki) all planning the same thing, and that part is absolutely true. All four couples departed in the fall of 2016, and one of them – like us – stored the boat south and went back to Maine for the summer. Like us, they returned to the boat in late fall, did a lot of work on it, and then launched for new adventures.
Unlike us, they’ve returned to Maine, because one of them has stage 4, Metastatic cancer.
I cannot begin to know how that feels. I know that just the 30% chance of having a relatively treatable cancer was enough to rock me off my foundations, but for these dear friends, who face a very grave threat indeed? I can’t know.
We can weep, we can rail against the unfairness of it, we can pray, we can offer what help we have to give, but in the end, we’re powerless to effect the course they must track. A course that will, in all likelihood, never take them back to their boat, and the cruising they were just beginning to taste.
Sometimes life doesn’t wait for the timing to be perfect. Sometimes the end really is just around the corner. Sometimes the reaper really is just outside your door. I’m not saying be reckless (though some people will claim you are if you follow a dream they don’t understand), nor do I counsel going off without planning and knowledge. But I also know how easy it is to put off dreams, to accept virtual adventures and crappy reality shows as “good enough” substitutes for real-life experiences.
Don’t believe it. They’re not.
“That thing you’ve always wanted to do? That trip you’ve planned, the date you’ve never asked for or the skill you’ve never taken the time to learn?
Do it. Do it now. There are no valid excuses anymore.”