I just read a column The Life Report by David Brooks in the NY Times. He suggested that readers over the age of 70 submit a report of their lives and describe the things that have been important to them and how well they believe they have done them. He references some essays by a Yale graduates on their 25th and 50th anniversary graduations.
Many regretted the risks that they didn’t take and the conventional aspects of their lives but I suppose that’s what makes up the vast majority of life, is the every day – those things that you do and the people that you see and the fabric that becomes your life. Friends and Family, school, work etc.. If you are a risk taker then maybe you get the rewards or maybe you suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
In my case I have certainly had plenty of risk and taken a few chances that have paid off and some that haven’t (and there are still some that I am holding on to and some I have to pay back.) As someone whose passion is traveling and reading, I get to travel a bit – not as much as I would like but the times I do get to travel can be pretty cool. One regret is that I don’t get to read as much as I would like, but when I do, I love it. I would suggest that risk taking is best when done as much or as often as possible. It’s those times when we stop taking risks or stop trying that we cower back into mediocrity while we wallow in our defeats.
I am suggesting to David and to everyone else that we don’t wait untill the age of 70 but that everyone write our life reports today, no matter how old or young we are and split it them into two parts. One an inventory of what we have done and then second what do we want the second act or third act to be about. My second act would be a bit of a travel report and list all the places I have never been but wanted to go. First stop Montreal. Please send us your travel reports at Literary Traveler firstname.lastname@example.org