I’ve finally settled on my epitaph – a slogan, a motto, a thought from the other side. Five simple words that sum up a life – my life: at least I fucking tried.
My all time favorite quote comes from good old T.R. – the Rough rider himself:
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
Far too many live in the gray twilight, and for good reason: things go easy there. It’s easy to say “I should’ve.” It’s easier to say “I could’ve.” It’s the rare person who can say “I tried.” Rarer still is the one in a million who can look back on life and say “I did.”
The word adventure is overused by advertisers marketing their crap to soft squishy Americans: how does driving a brand new four by four down a gravel road constitute an adventure? That ain’t my idea of adventure. On the other end some purists have hijacked the word claiming that an adventure must include some sort of near-death experience, or, at the very least, a large element of risk. I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion, but in my book an adventure means that the outcome is uncertain.
Parenting is definitely an adventure. For me, my first Ironman was an adventure – I stood on the beach unsure as to whether I could actually pull this thing off. Right now I am starting my own business, and if an uncertain outcome is the criteria, this definitely counts as an adventure.
The death of Steve Jobs should serve as a wake-up call for all of us living in the gray twilight: life is short, make your time count. I’m not ready to deify Mr. Jobs as many would like, but he did make his time count.