August 29, 2012

What Do You Want to Be?


Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr., who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court from 1902 to 1932, was riding the train in his native state of Massachusetts when he was approached by the conductor. When Holmes began to fumble through his pockets as if he were looking for his ticket, the conductor recognized him, and said, "That's okay, Justice Holmes. Don't worry about your ticket. When you find it, just send it in."

To which Holmes replied, "My problem, Sir, is not, where is my ticket, but where am I going?"

In one of Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquies, Macbeth suggests that our time on earth is devoid of meaning and our days on this earth serve no purpose.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time; 
How many of us let our days slip by in a “petty pace” without giving thought to where we are going or what we want to be.

When I was 46, I created my bucket list, twenty goals I wanted to accomplish in my life like “learn a technical skill; write and publish a song; visit Greece and/or Sweden; and quit smoking, weigh 175 pounds, and go to church every Sunday . . . all at the same time."

As I reflect on that list now, I wish I had contemplated, instead, what I want “to be,” not what I hoped “to do.” If I had done so in 1977, perhaps my list would have read like this: I want to be “a loving and considerate husband; a good father; an appreciative and contributing member of society; and a faithful servant to my Lord."

Despite the fact I never recorded such goals, I hope my family and friends believe I have accomplished some or all of those latter objectives. I tried.

You may already have goals in life, but have you ever thought about what you want to become?" 

PS One of my goals in 1977 was to parachute from a plane. In 1992, I decided to delete    that goal.