Does that thought make you stop breathing the way it does me? I told this to Jim this morning at breakfast, and later, wonderful life partner that he is, he tried to dissuade me from cleaning out the cupboard under my bathroom sink. He couldn’t, and although it wasn’t as depressing as it sounds, and even a little rewarding, I can’t get the thought out of my mind. Yes, my bathroom cupboard is clean, and no, I didn’t make plans for my round the world trip.
This topic reminds me of TS Eliot. “That’s how the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.” That’s how our life is used up, not in dreams but in tasks, not on the highway, but on the treadmill. And from the music and lyrics from Cats, with thanks to Eliot,
“Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale cold smell of morning
The streetlamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning.”
At this point in my life, I sometimes find myself asking, “Where did it all go?” But then that reminds me that I am still very much alive and I can still go for fulfillment in my life.
Living small isn’t the result of some terrible thing that happened during childhood that stunted our growth. I think it mostly happens because we’re doing something that someone told us would make us a good person—like cleaning our cupboards or organizing our sock drawer. It’s clear to me that life is not used up in big events like getting the Medal of Honor or saving a planeful of people who find themselves in a river, but in small, everyday choices we make — like to clean or not clean drawers. So the question I’m asking myself is, what if you spent 15 minutes today, and every single day, working on your dreams? You may not have clean cupboards, but you just might get to travel around the world.