When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long… What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfil? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?
Narrator Campbell Scott uses these words to close out a great 2008 independent Canadian film called “One Week,” which chronicles the motorcycle journey of Ben Tyler, a young man diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Rather than lie in bed with chemo running through his veins, Tyler — played on screen by Joshua Jackson — opts to take a vintage Norton Commando on a cross-Canada road trip, seeing — for the first time — his native country up close.
It’s a trip of discovery, of resolution and of hope. I cried the first time I saw the movie but it is one that I watch over and over.
After my third close call in a week on my Harley, a friend at lunch Tuesday asked:
“How many more changes are you going to take on that thing before you realize that someone is trying to send you a message? Your luck will run out one day.”
Yeah, it might, but what if it does? Consider Ben Tyler. Some might say his luck ran out when the doctor told him he had stage 4 cancer. Others could just as easily say his life had just begun because he used the time he had remaining to live…really live.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve attended too many funerals for friends — every one of them younger than my 63 years.
Too often lately, someone suggests I slow down.
“You push too hard,” a friend said last week. “You’re always on the go. You take too many chances.”
Everyone of us lives on borrowed time. Every day is a roll of a dice. So we might as well live every day as if it were our last.
I’ve had a good life, one filled with adventure, challenges and more love than I ever deserved.
Life is too short to live it in fear or consumed with hate or filled with dread. A life properly lived is a life of celebration. I’ve watched too many friends or relatives go to their graves with bitterness or regrets.
I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my life. I will do more before I die. But I will live life on my own terms, at my own pace and with the knowledge that every day on this earth could be my last.
To borrow a trite quote from the ad campaign of my favorite mode of transportation — a Harley-Davidson motorcycle — I can only say: “Screw it. Let’s ride.”