“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Jim Lampley started NBC’s coverage of the Race Across America with that quote by Mark Twain and if there were ever a truer statement – I haven’t heard it. Think back on your regrets in life… most of them will involve roads not travelled, tasks not attempted, words not said… things not done.I consider myself a risk-taker, a path-discoverer, an investigator of life and although I have had enough adventures and stories to fill a dozen lifetimes, I also have my share of what-ifs.
I had an opportunity to travel to China in the early ’80s to do Hacky-Sack demonstrations shortly after placing third in the World Championship competition in Houston… I thought about it for a few seconds and decided that I would be unable to go. I never even looked into what it would take and how to raise the funds to do it… I just assumed it wasn’t possible. My life is littered with those stories… mainly because you can’t do everything. What you can do however, is to look for those opportunities for experience and adventure and jump in with both feet.
The riders in the RAAM will ride their bicycles from San Diego, California to Atlantic City, New Jersey – a trip of over 3,000 miles. They will climb over 109,000 feet and cross 14 states. Less than a dozen riders will even attempt this race solo, but regardless of whether they win or even finish.. they will never feel the regret that those who talked themselves out of trying will feel.
On a smaller scale, for those of us who have “human” levels of endurance is an event like the MS150. I have ridden the MS150 two times… once as a rider and once as a Ride Marshall and am glad I did it. I put off doing the Hotter N’ Hell Hundred for years and then finally rode it in 2001. What a difference something like that makes in opening your eyes. It lets you know that anything is possible.
All of these examples have been cycling related because I have an interest in cycling… but it can be as simple as taking a line-dancing class, volunteering at a senior center, or exploring your artistic side. It is about doing and being and not just watching. It is about getting off the sidelines and in the game. It is about singing karaoke, acting in a play, visiting the Ozarks, it just doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you are off your ass and building memories, not regrets.
My motto is “I wanna live until the last day of my life.”