Five hundred and fifty supercharged ponies, hand on the cue ball shifter, top down, wind blowing through what’s left of my hair: when I was a fourteen-year-old boy, seeing the Shelby Mustang GT-500 on the showroom floor of my small town Ford dealer made an indelible impression. If I had known what a bucket list was at that time, driving that Shelby would be at the top. As you can see, many years later I have a huge smile on my face as I cruise across the Skagit Flats in my dream machine.
Between working for Hospice of the Northwest for ten years and advancing in age, there has been an ongoing transformation of my bucket list. If there is one thing that working for hospice teaches you, it is that you never know what life will bring, and the time to do want you want to do is now (OK, that’s two things.)
I have had the great fortune of parenting five wonderful boys, loving and being loved, traveling much of the world, owning my own business and driving a stupidly fast car. Perhaps because I was exposed to death in my formative years, I have tried to live my life with “anticipatory regret planning.” If I know not doing something, or not pursuing something, or changing something in my life could result in regret in my final days, I will use that realization as a primary driver in life’s decision making.
Now I am Executive Director of Hospice of the Northwest. From a professional standpoint I view this as my pinnacle achievement, though when I started working at hospice ten years ago as a nurse, I declared, “you will never catch me working in an office again!” There is still much work to do at hospice, and like I said, you never know what life will bring.
My bucket is filled now with poignant experiences like a phone call from one of my boys, a beautiful sunrise, a flock of swans flying by or a belly laugh from my wife. I work with the most amazing people I could hope for, have the best job on the planet and get to make a real difference in the world on a daily basis. From here on out it is icing on the cake (Hmm, authentic tiramisu consumed in Venice, now you’ve got me thinking.)