Wow. What a year, right? To think nearly every human on the planet was impacted is mind-numbing. 2020 is a year I’m happy to forget. But I can’t. If it is one thing 2020 reinforced, it is that life is precious and time is fleeting (okay, two things 2020 taught me).
I have my first business flight coming up tomorrow in, well, I don’t know how long. Being on a plane wasn’t unusual for me – I’ve been in the travel industry all my life and have always considered myself “Road Warrior.” You could say I practice my trade all the time. For years, two or even three flights a week was “normal” for me.
Like most road warriors, I’m always surrounded by people, though amazingly, it’s still very easy to be lonely while traveling. Days, weeks, and months pass (airline miles and hotel points rack up) and time seems to disappear before your eyes. While I consider myself pretty good about keeping in touch with people (via phone, social media, etc.) I started to think about all the things I’d want people to know in the event, well, that I wasn’t around anymore. I know, it’s a bit morbid so hear me out. In the event you weren’t here on this earth tomorrow, what would you want the important people in your life to know?
So, I started to type an email. I imagined not being able to ever speak to anyone ever again. I typed and poured my heart out and I kept typing. I’m not going to give you all the details, but the evolution of the email was amazing and what I’m going to do with the email might interest you.
I started with my wife. I reminded her about all the things I love and admire about her. I reminisced about when we met, how I felt, etc. Mostly, I thanked her and told her how much I appreciated her, because I don’t do that enough. I imagined we were having the last conversation we’d ever have, and these were my notes. I also reminded her of my washboard abs and long flowing hair, not because I actually have those, but I wanted to be sure she’d smile. You can imagine, the words kept flowing from my brain onto the screen.
Then I wrote to my children. Both are young teenagers, so I needed to keep it relevant to their lives now. I wrote about how much I love them and how proud I am of them, especially how kind they are. Then I thought I should write things that would be pertinent to them as they grew up. Again, I told them how much I loved them, but now I added things like how they needed to cherish one another and yes, take care of Mommy. As I kept writing, I had to change my tone, giving advice for the things I know were likely to happen as they grew up; love, heartbreak, picking the right friends, the right job and making all sorts of decisions.
Then I wrote to my parents. I told them about how much I loved them, and I thanked them for everything they’ve ever done for me. I also apologized for nearly burning down the house when I was a kid, but that’s another post.
Then I wrote to my sister and then to my extended family and then to my best friends. Then, I even wrote my last social media post entitled “If you’re reading this, it was nice knowing you.” I’m sending it to a friend so she can post it for me, if needed.
When I thought I was done with the email, I re-read it and made changes. Turns out, this continued for many flights. Honestly, I’m still not done, but I have to say, writing this email has been an amazing experience. Remember, life is precious. I have since taken the time to call people just to tell them I love them, to thank them and basically tell them everything I wrote, using it as a script.
So, what am I going to do with this email? I’m going to send it to the people I love. Why wait? What is worth saying, is worth saying now.
Breathe. Think. Type. You’ll enjoy this as will the people you love.