When I lay in bed at night, or even if I’m on the couch, lazing around watching a weekend PGA tournament, for some reason lately my heartbeat has been particularly, ‘thumpy.’
(Please, if you think it’s a medical condition, let me know in the comments.)
I’ve just been listening to it more, or hearing it more. Paying attention to it more. And whenever I do (sorry, going dark here), I think of the day my heart stops beating. Yep, death.
It’s something that, for the longest, time I’ve always had in the back of my mind. I’m an ambitious guy; I want to do lots of things in life: write a book, travel the world with my wife, watch all four kids graduate university, watch a game in all NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL stadiums – yes, that’s on the co-bucket list for my wife and I. I want to play in a professional golf tournament, I want to own my own business, I want to run a marathon (only done a half), I want to get a part in a movie, I want to direct my own short film, I want to win the lottery (OK, that one may never happen). I want to do a lot of things.
And please, spare me the ‘why haven’t you done it? Or what are you doing to get there?’ – I get it. We all know life often gets in the way of what you want to do. And frankly, aside from playing the lottery every week, there isn’t much more I can do to win it.
Now, I’ll admit that since my job was removed from my life, I’ve had more time to acknowledge the nuances in my life. Like my heartbeat.
And I wonder: If my heart stops tomorrow, what have I done?
I think we all probably think about this at one time or another. And some, like me, have a tendency to dwell on it now and again. My wife is a constant reminder of the great things I have done. No need to list them. You know, the important things in life (good husband, good father, four great sons, nice trips, great experiences, led a great newspaper, Avenue Top 40 Under 40 (yeah, I just dropped that) etc, etc.)
The two sides, while literally coming from the same heartbeat, aren’t exactly in sync. One is what I’ve done and one is what I want to do.
Buh bum. Buh bum. Buh Bum. Buh Bum. The heart keeps ticking.
Getting back to all of you saying, ‘well, why don’t you do those things?’ And me saying, ‘well, life gets in the way’… what it really boils down to is the conflict between the head and the heart.
The heart wants one thing and the head tells you that you’re bat-shit crazy.
What exacerbates the problem is the head often makes what the heart wants an insurmountable objective – for the masses, at least. And so, we don’t do those things. I don’t do them. We put so many perceived (sometimes real) roadblocks in the way of chasing what the heart wants to do. Be it career-wise, family-wise, travel-wise…
And so I’ve listening to my heart at night. Or when I watch TV, usually golf, because I nod off every now and again and that’s when I can really hear the heart well. I think about the things I want to do before that inevitable physiological breakdown where the electrical impulse from my sinoatrial node ends and my heart does indeed stop.
Now, maybe I’m going to take the anatomy lesson too far here in making the point, but there’s a real parallel here. When the heart pumps it does two things:
1.) It brings in deoxygenated blood in and sends it for oxygenation in the lungs. Let’s call this what your heart wants. All that untapped potential and unlived experiences.
2.) It pumps the blood out to various vital organs and helps you, well, live. All of your actions, your thoughts, your impulses, (your golf game) etc. Let’s call this what you actually do.
What ultimately makes the decision for number 2 is that damn thing called your brain.
So you need to get your brain on board with your heart. To a large degree you’d hope they’d be in sync, right? But, how do you do that?
I’ve no friggin’ clue. When you figure it out please post in the comments below.
I hope you weren’t expecting a brilliant knowledge bomb for that part.
The bomb is just that you’re standing in your own way.
I would be willing to bet the farm that it’s just you. I know it’s just me.
So get the hell out of the way, start listening to your heart and act. That’s my goal. It doesn’t matter if it’s life in general, school, work, sports, love – whatever.
Life is literally ticking in your chest. Go out and live it.
Buh bum. Buh Bum. Buh Bum.