Mark Terry

Monday, September 27, 2010


September 27, 2010
A couple things have made think about this lately. In the last year or so Leanne and I have developed a social life (yeah, I know, who'd believe that?) and we've been hanging out with a lot of these friends. At one point we were over at our friends' house and they were talking about their horses--they own two and the mom, Karen, and her daughter, Alex, are seriously, seriously into horses. Jeff and Boomer, not so much (or at all, actually). I commented that I'd never ridden a horse. Jeff said, "Well, if you ever want to scratch that one off your life list, just let us know."

Another of our friends, Mark, we can safely call an uber-jock. He and I are biking buddies from time to time now, although his mellow riding days are my intense days, pretty much. Mark has run marathons, done triathlons, hiked and camped through Glacier National Park, and if there's a physical activity of some sort in existence, there's a pretty good chance Mark's done it. At one point we were discussing some of his business trips and he commented that on one trip years back he'd been sent to Europe on a chartered private jet. Nice.

I'm not really a believer in making a "bucket list", ie., a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket. But I have been thinking somewhat about the things you do in life and the things you get to experience and how short the time to do them can actually be. Perhaps I'm thinking of it because my mother died about a month ago and that sort of things can make you think about your mortality and what you hope to do with your life.

For years I wrote like crazy. I commuted a long ways to a job I didn't like, spent a couple hours with my family, then spent the evenings and often chunks of my weekends writing. In the long run it seems to have worked out fine. Now that I write for a living, I've looked to the rest of the time with at least a partial idea of filling it with things that I hope to do, have always wanted to try, or that I just plain enjoy doing. That includes working out at the gym, karate, running, biking, kayaking, playing guitar, having a social life, and volunteering for things, namely Band Boosters, but also being involved in my kids' activities.

I wonder if any of my friends look at my life and occasionally think, "Gee, I wish I had time to work out." Or, "I've always wanted to play guitar." Or, "I've always wanted to write a novel." Or...

Am I saying that I should have been out living life instead of inside writing and reading? No, I don't think so. We can't do everything in life and it's worked out well in the long run for me, although there were definitely some periods where I wondered what the hell I was doing spending all my free time writing when I could be out doing other things. (And I would probably add, that if I were still working at the hospital and writing bits and pieces on the side and had been doing this since 1987 without getting a novel published or at least generating some income, I might want to re-evaluate my decision-making paradigm).

If there's a point to make here, rather than an observation, it may be that 1) There's more to life than writing, and 2) you should fill up your life with things you enjoy and have always wanted to do, just because you can, and also because it will fill your writing with life as well.

And, well, you know ... life's short.



Blogger Erica Orloff said...

Interesting post.

I generally feel like I live a "big life"--four kids, a very active social life, lots of people I love, and so on. I like what I do for a living, and I like working from home. I don't ever look at other careers and think, "Gee . . . I wish I did that instead." Not a lot of regrets.

That said, too, I don't (because I have Crohn's disease) like traveling. It's too difficult with my medical issues . . . so some things I might like to have done in another life (go to Europe for extended trips, etc.) I needed to make my peace that they will not happen for me. I couldn't even get medical clearance to fly to BOSTON once for my sister's wedding--and that broke my heart.

So I make my peace . . . though I do think this. I wish I had saved more and predicted some of this larger financial mess. I am pretty sure I'm gonna work until I drop dead.

12:43 PM  

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