10 Things to Do Before I Die

By: Bernie Dahl M.d.

Although I am now finishing up my seventh decade of a most exciting and fulfilling life, I am planning for the future, as I do every January. I take this exciting trip of the mind, soul, and body (in spite of two malignancies and a pair of knee prostheses) in the spirit of George Bernard Shaw who said:“When I die, I want to be all used up."

My list looks like this, complete with some sort of rationale for each, and in parentheses my best guess for the probability of their successful completion:?? 1)?Summit Mt. Aconcagua: I reached 21,600 ft. in 1996 and 21,700 ft. in 2002. Unfortunately, as the highest peak outside of Asia, the peak is at 22,800 ft (6,962 meters). My wife, Elaine, notes that if I get an additional 100 ft. every 6 years, I will summit at the age of 135! (5%)

2)?Summit Mt. Cotopaxi: I have never been to Ecuador, which is reason enough to go, but at 19,347 ft. (5,897 meters) the summit might be attainable in spite of my maturity (age) and low testosterone (effects of therapy for prostate cancer). (35%)

3)?Swim with the snow monkeys in Japan: This probably illegal, dangerous, and foolish, but every time I see their photos, as a Scorpio (life being focused on water, fire, and sex…not necessarily in that order) I am lured, at least re: the water part.(35%)

4)?Take the Trans-Siberian Railway trip: Since I have been to Russia, climbed Mt. Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains, at 18,510 ft. (5642 meters) the highest mountain in Europe, and have spent a month in China, it is time to link the two.

(75%)

5)?Write a NY Times #1 Bestseller: I have written five books, including Optimize Your Life! which is an international best-seller (the Chinese publisher’s edition was on the Book-of-the-Month Club). For motivation, I have pasted the book title and my name over the #1 slot of a copy of the NY Times best-seller list, and I “visualize" it every day as I brush my teeth. (wow! and priceless!)

6)?Keynote fee of $10,000: One of my great mentors, the late Dottie Walters, said that I was a “$10,000 keynote." I’m working at it, Dottie! (50%)

7)?Closer relationship with, my wife, Elaine: After my “near-death" and rescue on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire I realized that the Elaine would have been the real victim, if I had died or become permanently disabled. (100%)

8)?Enjoy my/our new sexuality: What age fails to do to undermine one’s sexuality, anti-hormone therapy, radical surgery, chemotherapy, and external beam radiation will. However, as a result of trips to India and Nepal, we have learned (and mastered to some degree) Tantric sex, etc. Scorpio lives. All we need is the fire, which we have in a fire pit in our Zen garden. (100%)

9)?Tune up my body/mind/soul: As I now struggle to complete my book, What Better Place to Die, based on my Mt. Washington misadventure, I am keeping a “promise" I made while I was on that mountain. (100%)

10)? Finish the other five “promises" I made Mt. Washington: to be insensitive to negative criticism, to get rid of non-productive real estate, to make amends with some key people, and to better network with key people from my past… write the book. (100%)

That’s my list. What is on your list…and why?

Since childhood, my value system has been basically Judeo-Christian, although I have become quite eclectic over the years. As a Buddhist, should I “stop striving?? As a Hindu should I graciously enter the fourth phase of life and “become a sannyasin, a wandering hermit, seeking only spiritual enlightenment?" Psychologist Abraham Maslow in Hierarchy of Needs described the ultimate phase of one’s life as self-actualization, that is, going beyond the basics of life and finding one’s single “calling" and heeding it. Single calling… how about ten?????????

In Worth Magazine in 1999, Edward Sussman wrote an article, “24 Things to Do before You Die" which focused mostly on interviews with celebrities. Grand Dame, Brooke Astor advised one to “be gracious to someone you despise." CNN economics guru Lou Dobbs suggested that you “thank someone instrumental in your success," while author George Plimpton advised us all to “go on a quest."

You may not be able to run away with the circus at this stage in your life, but you can sneak off for a window of time, time well chosen and spent, time that will expand your horizons, time in which to create powerful memories.

Enjoy the journey! Do it now!

Top Searches on
Motivation
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Motivation