I will ask you, no, plead with you not to be a Jim Killon.
The 2017 version of me is something that I am immensely proud of and grateful to be. I am not talking about today.
I am referring to the fact that living your dreams, being specific about your purpose in life and taking a “burn the bridges behind you” determination to make it all happen, should not come at the end of your life but the beginning. The pre-age 52 Jim Killon was indistinguishable from the seven billion other people that are floating through this life like a ghost. Most will leave no impression or footprint that any of us were ever here on the earth. I was born, went to school, grew up, made a living, ate, slept, made love to women, spawned a few kids, bought a few houses, made a few great investments, lost a few battles in life, and got older. Plain vanilla life. Not the slightest difference between me and any other animal that wandered around in the forest. If that sounds familiar, you might start to become awakened.
At age 52, most people are getting a closer look at what their retirement might be like, setting their final plans for phasing out of jobs, making the last tuition payments, planning their childrens’ weddings and maybe even celebrating a few grand kids. Not me.
After years of sitting around with friends that I’d had since high school, drinking in bars, and reminiscing about our funny lives and times, it gets old. Some of us had a twinge of awareness that we had been doing this for too many years but quickly drowned it with another beer. That dash on our tombstones between our date of birth and date of death represents an entire life. For most, it won’t be anything more than a dash. Awakening has a unique way of nudging everyone who becomes self aware. For me it was the, now well worn story, of my trip to Nicaragua to visit the construction site of a luxury condo village I was investing into. Passing into pueblos of unimaginable impoverishment and destitution, I met with families that had life goals of simply having enough food to eat that day, and there was no guarantee of that. Bang! Like a ton of bricks falling on my head, I realized that I can and should do something about this horror to humanity. Especially for the children who were the most vulnerable. Whether here or somewhere else, the should became a must and I was determined to make it happen. How? Hell if I knew. But that wasn’t deterring me.
The final nudge came in the form of an overheard phone conversation by my then wife.
She was a lovely woman with an anti-social personality disorder which manifested in a pattern of violent outbursts filling our daily lives together. In the covert conversation, what I overheard sounded like her plotting with someone to have me murdered, as soon as possible for $10,000. In the most literal sense, I was in a “Do or die” situation. I chose “do.”
The perfect storm. With that motivation and my life savings in a cash position waiting for the 2008 economic crash to recover, I had the final nudge to do what I had determined was my “Must” in life. Help destitute children in some Latin American country that could appreciate my help. I landed in Peru in 2009, and within a year developed Changes for New Hope; my vision was realized. The last eight years have been an amazing eye-opening and life-changing experience. Not always “bouncing off the walls” happy, life is still a series of challenges, but every day is a new success, a growing and a deeper journey into what matters most. Purpose, not existence fills my days. Motivation, my own and the motivation of thousands of others over the years has made me the man I needed to be 35 years ago. But I was selfish. I lived for myself and my own. My days were filled with making money, hedonistic pursuits, sales quotas, illusions of success and dodging flying objects jettisoned by a perpetually drunken spouse. When everyone around you is doing the same thing, it seems “normal”. It isn’t though. Just the illusion, the story, the lie that we all told ourselves to justify not doing more. Living our dreams always seemed just too far out of reach.
Whatever you are doing now, do something great with your life.
You have time to spare. Snap off that television and get off the phone apps for a few hours a day and dedicate your life to the one person who can make your life count for something, yourself! Fill in that dash between your birth and death dates that will be on your tombstone. Jettison excuses, which are nothing more than metal arsenic. Erase the lines defining your comfort zone. Spare a few dollars to help others. Share your time where it can be most appreciated. Look around. Be fully alive. Do not be a Jim Killon. Do not start your life at age fifty-two. Trade in your “I will” for “I am” by starting today. Do not leave this world full of unfulfilled wishes, dreams, plans, and goals. That would be the greatest tragedy mankind could ever suffer. You are enough right here and now.
~~~ Jim Killon, age 60, and living large, living deliberately.
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