Sunday, June 10, 2012

Because We Can

There are some things we as human beings can't do, many that we won't do, and even more that we don't do.  Rather than focus on those lists, I like to concentrate on what we can do, should do, and want to do.  In fact, in partnership with my family, I have been exploring the merit of a "Because We Can" approach to life.  I do not use that term as some others might, gloating because they might have resources or abilities that others do not.  I use it instead to communicate a lifestyle of embracing personal responsibility, making smart decisions, and taking advantage of fleeting opportunity and ability.  Though not as intentional as many, I do believe I have been living my life in this manner.  Being a firm believer that accidents do not exist and luck is created, I have recently made it a point to be deliberate in my application of such a philosophy.  In fact, over the last couple of years, both my wife and brother have helped me to understand the importance of doing things "Because We Can" and the corollary "For Those Who Can't".

Last year, I had the pleasure of sharing a long bicycle ride with my brother.  Riding along the beautiful beach I call home and not being people who take life for granted, we talked about just how fortunate we continue to be.  Though our lives are very different, we are equally fortunate.  He lives in San Francisco surrounded by countless friends, has a job he loves, and makes it a point to take advantage of  his surroundings.  In fact, it's very difficult to get in touch with him because he is so busy doing things "Because He Can":  bike rides over the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito, runs through the Presidio, skiing in Tahoe, wine tasting in Napa, walking to world renown eateries, great concerts on any given weekend, etc.  While others are content talking about a "bucket list" they have no intention of completing, he is creating life experiences "Because He Can" and actively demonstrating his love for life.

During my tour here in beautiful Pensacola, my family made sacrifices in order to live on the beach..."Because We Can".  In fact, my wife has turned that into a family mantra.  We have "Because We Can" days.  On these days we take advantage of our surroundings:  lounging in beach chairs, taking the water taxi to our favorite restaurants, enjoying family bike rides, etc.  We also have days when we will go out of our way to take advantage of the local area:  trips to museums, aquariums, a local play, or venturing off on longer trips to places we will never live this close to again.  She is of the mind (and has helped me get there) that we're only on the Gulf Coast for two years, so we better experience all that we can.  As we migrate back to Maryland, the what we do will change (lots of trips to DC), but the purposeful way in which we embrace the "Because We Can" philosophy will not.  We are committed to not taking life for granted, acknowledging our good fortune, and remaining cognizant of how limited our window of opportunity is.

Back to the bike ride with my brother...As we were nearing the end and our legs were beginning to really feel it, we encouraged each other with the rally cry "For Those Who Can't":  wounded warriors who no longer can, loved ones whose health now prevents them from more actively participating in life, and others who want more but truly can't.  I am not worried about those who don't or those who won't do things in life, but I do have a soft spot for those who want to but can't.  There may come a time in our own lives when we will no longer be able (physically, financially, or geographically) to do the things we want to do.  For that reason, I refuse to defer until tomorrow what I can do today, and I refuse to take seriously others who merely talk of doing.  Truth is, for most of us there is no can't, but a heck of a lot of won't and don't.

DO while we can; DO because we can; DO before our can turns into can't!

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