At the age of 39, I started what most people call a “bucket list”, but I called a TDBID (to do before I die). It was filled with adventures like learning to ride a motorcycle, driving a racecar, jumping out of a plane. The TDBID morphed into a general point-of-view: I forced myself to be open to adventures that crossed my path. The most magnaminous of these was Dancing with the Stars (the local version, for charity). The Alzheimer’s Association asked me to be a dancer, and I had never heard anything more frightening in my life. Here I was, a relatively subdued personality with a twinge of shyness, going to perform a dance routine in front of a packed auditorium. In addition to stage fright, I was out of shape and had never danced before.
This overwhelming, all-consuming adventure is what sparked my need to write. Verbalizing the process calmed my nerves, so I wrote as much as I could: about the fitness challenge, the crazy dance moves, the panic attacks. The blog which began as an outlet for my experience became a creative outlet for life in general. My single blogging rule, learned the hard way, is to only write when I feel strongly that I must. (Rilke fans will recognize this advice from “Letters to a Young Poet”). If I force myself to write when I have nothing compelling to share, the results are invariably disastrous. If I write because the blog is forming itself in my head and demands to be released, only then do I have a shot at forming something worth reading.
Blog followers will notice a wide range of topics, but in all activities I strive to find an underlying current: the search for small ways to be a blessing to others. This personal mission statement guides all of my activities, and converts my action-based desires to a singular quest. I challenge myself to do something kind for someone every day, even if it is only a small, unexpected gesture. It leaves me asking this question often, and I am surprised at the number of times I receive the same reply. When I inquire, “how can I be a blessing to you today?”, the most common response is, “you already have been, just by asking the question”. Sometimes, knowing someone cares is all we need. This is my new TDBID, and adventure for the rest of my life.