Shift Lanes

One of the greatest quotes I have ever heard came from a 90-something year old woman. I was working in a doctor’s office and she was at the check-out window talking with my co-worker about her age and life experience. My co-worker loved chatting with patients, especially the older ones. Older folks have so much more life experience and knowledge that we tend to take for granted. Next time you have a chance, spend time talking with someone over the age of 60. The life advice they have is remarkable and usually comical the older they get.

My co-worker asked the woman “do you have any regrets in life?” With a quick response, and little hesitation, she replied “I wish I would have had more sex.” My jaw dropped. My co-worker let out the loudest laugh. A nurse behind the woman stopped prepping IV bags and smirked. The doctor, had he overheard, would have turned ten shades of red.

Out of everything this woman could possibly wish to do differently in her life, she looked back and wished she would have had more sex. A 90-something year old woman, moving around with her walker, and knowing the Death was merely a block away, shocked everyone in ear shot that day. She left us that day with the advice of more sex. I never saw her again after that. She passed away before her next appointment. But I will never forget her and the importance of that one 2-minute moment.

When we are simply going from one doctor’s appointment to another, just waiting for the end, life appears very different. It will not be about money or career successes. It may not even be about making amends with people we lost touch with, family members included. It will not be about our boat, huge home, fancy car in the driveway, or how big our TV is. There is so much more to life than working towards something else.

I have talked to folks who were raising their grandchildren because their children had become drug addicts and unsuitable parents. They had worked their entire lives to retire, and then ended up being parents all over again. I have asked a very sick man how he was always in such a great mood every single time I saw him. With failing lungs and a dying liver, his winded reply was “why not?” as he gave me a smile.  I was told that we spend half of our lives working towards money and credit and success to obtain things we think we need in life. Then we reach a point that we can purchase all the things we thought we needed. But by then, these things are not so important. Sure, a Cadillac is nice to ride around in, but a little Honda will work just as well. A big and fancy home is nice to look at, but then you find you must fill it up with stuff and maintain all of that stuff.

At a young age, we are expected to seriously consider careers. We attend college, spend money and years on an education, that eventually we could end up despising or not finding success in. We may spend many years working at a job we may not feel was our calling, but the pay is good to support our family with the things we need. Some of us spend so much time and effort going above and beyond to get raises and climb ladders, which makes us feel important. But when we fail, we feel like a failure. After all, we must be successful.

Ask a 90-year old man or woman what their regrets in life may be. They won’t tell you it was getting an education as a doctor because of the money. They will not say that they wished they had bought a Lamborghini or lived in a huge house. Next time you feel lost and confused about the path you are taking in life, ask yourself if it will matter at 90 years old, if you make it that long. If you do not feel like the lane you are traveling in is right for you, get out of it. Too hard? Start making decisions and moves so that it is possible to switch lanes. What if you do not find something more in a different lane? O’well. Trying and not succeeding is better than never trying at all. Have dreams. Have hopes. Have faith that there is more to you and your life. If you are not enjoying the moments in your life, the people around you, and you are simply going through the motions to get to the next motions, shift lanes. We have one shot at this.

Life is about so much more than moving through it from one goal to the next. It is about savoring the moments we have been given and making the most of those moments.

And more sex. Life is about having more sex.    


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