On this day, the tenth anniversary of the day the world was forever changed, I challenge us all to choose to live a life of liberty and to pursue all those things that bring us happiness in this life. The truth really is that we only live once and no one knows when he/she will take his/her last breath. That said, why not choose to live life purposely? To choose to embrace each moment. To choose to smile more. To laugh more. To love more. To give more. To share more. To connect more. To not take another moment, another person, another breath--or another thing that takes your breath away--for granted.
Each day we are given is an opportunity. It is a chance to make a difference. It is a chance to do something you've never done, something you love to do, or something you've always said you will do 'someday'. Today, my friends, can be your someday. All you have to do is to choose to make it so. I know that I say that as if it is simple. In some ways, it really is that simple. In other ways, it becomes more challenging. Life happens every day. Every moment. Even the best laid plans sometimes never become what they were meant to be, but that doesn't mean that they are not still good and blessed results or pursuits. Never give up. Never stop trying to be and to do all those things your body, mind and spirit long to experience.
Do you have a bucket list? Do you have a joy list? Do you have that place or that experience or that hope or wish or dream that is still waiting for you to pursue it? I do. I have lots of them. And even if I don't hit them all, I am going to keep moving forward. Keep checking them off and keep adding new things on to that list. I just recently saw a show recently where a couple went paragliding from a hilltop over the ocean and landed on the beach. I have seen parasailing before and thought it was something I might enjoy, but when I saw paragliding, I knew that was going on my list. It joins the likes of zip-lining, white water rafting (I've done it before, but I want to do it in class IV rapids in West Virginia or the like), kayaking, sailing in the Carribean--preferably on a Catamaran, and skydiving. I am not an adrenaline junky by any means, but I love adventures. I love to go fast. And I love to feel the wind in my hair. All of these qualify for speed and wind!
I want to go horseback riding on the beach again...a white sand one. I have done it in Ensenada, Mexico and in San Diego before, but I want something more tropical. I want to visit the Canadian Rockies and Lake Louise. I want to drive the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) from San Diego to Vancouver, BC. I want to go to Europe--Austria, Germany, Italy (Tuscany, Lake Como, Florence, Rome), Croatia, Prague (Czech Republic), France (Nice, Paris, Saint Tropez). I want to go to Ireland and stay in the home where my grandfather was raised and when I go, I want to be with my granny and family to share the journey and the stories as we create new memories. I want to hike in more parks and mountains and visit Yellowstone, Yosemite and Glacier National Parks. I want to walk the Great Wall of China. I want to visit Japan during Cherry Blossom Season. And if I can't get to Japan during that season, I want to at least experience it in Washington, DC which is another place I have never been. There are so many lovely and wonderful places that I have yet to experience and I can't wait to start crossing some places off the list. To begin, I am going to get my passport so I never have an excuse as to why I can't hop across the pond.
Sometimes, it's really about taking that first step. It may start as an idea or a passion or a desire, but eventually it becomes an item on a to-do list that WILL get checked off. Next year, the weekend of July 14-15th is a Pensacola Air Show, but it is also a reunion of those who flew or worked on the H-46. I am going. That is the first of a two-part birthday present to myself. The second half is to go to San Diego for the kickoff of Fleet Week 2012 and then drive up the PCH. I don't know if I'll just do California during this trip or more; it will all depend on how much time I can get off. Those are things I will check off my list next year. I hope some of my friends from the Navy will join me in September back where it all began for us, but regardless of who wants to join me this is something I have been wanting to do for me for too long to keep putting it off. Heck, maybe I will take my kids with me and we can throw in a little Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios and Disneyland. I am open to what comes with the trip. I just want to know that I will get back to San Diego in 2012.
Like "brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things." Make your list, set your goals, and start to pursue your happy. As a dearly-loved boss once taught me, "Things don't just happen by themselves. You have to make them happen." So, what are you going to make happen so that you can truly live this life you've been given? If you don't know, start to think about it and I will bet you that it won't be long before your list is as long as mine!