Today I attended a birthday party and had the privilege of sitting beside 70 year old Peter, a friend of the birthday "boy." Peter is a real conversationalist, a former teacher and full of life. He lives north of Montreal on a tree farm and taps maple trees in the spring for maple syrup. We talked about work and travel and a shared love for Mexico. I asked him where he was still hoping to visit, and he said he would like to go back to Bali and would also love to take a couple of cruises (to Alaska being one of them) with a group of friends.
Peter said that in past few years he had not travelled, as his wife had been diagnosed with a form of dementia. I asked him how old his wife was, and he replied that she was 69 years old. "So young," I said and he nodded in agreement. He went on to tell me that she was diagnosed on the very day she retired from her job. "We had so many plans," he said. So sad.
My conversation with Peter was brief, but he made an impression on me. We ended our talk with him telling me two things. First, "don't ever settle for second best," referring to the work we choose to do (although this could be applied to many different areas of life). And second, "live your life today, because you never know what is going to happen." He knew this too well.
This seems to be a reoccurring message for me over the past few months and I am listening. I have been making the changes I need to make to ensure I am living the life I want. His message was yet another reminder.