I love music. I love live music. I love my wife.
I do not really like Tim McGraw, but like I said, I love my wife. Because my wife loves many things about Tim McGraw, one of them his music, we had been to at least two McGraw concerts while living in Dallas. It could have been more and I just blocked it out of my memory.
Luckily each concert I remember had a component to it that interested me. The first time we saw McGraw the group that opened for him, an unknown act at the time, Big and Rich, set the bar very high for the night. Tim did not quite match the duo’s energy, in fact one might figure McGraw thought the bar Big and Rich raised was for a game of limbo.
The second time we saw Tim had him sharing the stage with his wife, Faith Hill, so that was interesting.
You might be thinking, “Greg if you don’t care for the tight-jean wearing, bald-spot black-hat covering, non-instrument playing, twirling, McGraw, why do you bring him up?” Great question. There is a song made famous by McGraw, written by someone else, titled Live Like You Were Dying that has been pinging around in my head for the past week. The first verse and chorus goes like this:
He said I was in my early forties
With a lot of life before me
When a moment came that stopped me on a dime
I spent most of the next days, looking at the x-rays
Talking bout the options and talking bout sweet time
I asked him when it sank in
That this might really be the real end
How’s it hit ‘cha when you get that kind of news?
Man, what’d ya do?
And he said
I went skydiving
I went rocky mountain climbing
I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denyin’
And he said, Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dyin’
For the past two and a half years Jen and I have enjoyed living like there is no tomorrow. We aim to continue this trend until, well, until there are no more tomorrows. The funny thing is, even with clear guidance from life experiences, it took a lot to get us out there living.
Jen’s dad died just a few years after she and I got married. He learned he had cancer so retired early at 58 and died just a year later.
This terrible event came early in our married lives, early in the careers we were building. We may have had a brief thought of, “man, life is short,” but if so, there was no recognition that it could apply to us.
As time moved forward Jen and I built careers. Excess money began to increase while available time decreased. The time devoted to work was placated by the ability to afford convenience. This way of life, eating out just about every meal, drinking more than was healthy, working 10 – 14 hour days and then worrying over work once home, was taking a toll on my health. As my weight ballooned so did the dosage of my blood pressure medication. My normal, unflinchingly jovial, personality now snapped easily.
I would love to say that we decided to downsize, move, and live differently on our own, but that just isn’t the case. My career was the catalyst, it was in decline. I was managing a company whose product was becoming obsolete and I had spent my entire career honing skills necessary to run this industry in decline. While other divisions within the company were thriving I had not positioned myself to take advantage of potential opportunities. Instead, I was like the captain of a sinking ship. I still needed to manage the ship, all the while crew members were drowning and not being replaced. I was doing more with less all the while my pay was plummeting along with the ship.
NOW, that got my attention. Now my thought was, “I just can’t go on like this” and “honey, it’s time for a change.” Looking back with the goggles of hindsight I can see that if my career was still on the rise we would most likely still be living an upscale, high blood pressure lifestyle.
Regardless, we were going to make a change and after dismissing other “move on” options we chose to move to Central America. Punctuating our decision with an exclamation mark was a death that happened after our decision to move, but still a year before winding down our careers and doing it. My cousin’s husband, barely older than Jen and I and seemingly healthy, went into the hospital not feeling well and never came out. The couple had just had their first baby, a son.
Since moving here, I have lost and kept off 40 extra pounds, I have eliminated the need for blood pressure medication, I stopped a 20 year long tobacco habit, and I now have access to the commodity that makes living life to the fullest possible – time. I used to think that commodity was money, and of course a bit of that is necessary, but before, I had plenty of the stuff and didn’t have the time to enjoy it.
When we first moved here I gave Costa Rica credit for all of the new positives in my life. Costa Rica is beautiful and the weather where we live is unrivaled. That being said, Costa Rica is not the reason I lost weight, wrote a book, became healthier, or any of the other positives I have experienced while living here. The credit should go to time, having the time to do those things that make life better, time to follow your passions, time to live like you are dying.
I might not be a fan of Tim McGraw, but I am a fan of overused, clichéd, motivational quotes:
In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
For those McGraw fans out there I apologize for the bashing, but here is one more dig. The video below is the song McGraw made famous played and sung by one of its co-writers (Craig Wiseman). I think it is much more emotional than McGraw’s version and has a nice little introduction… Ok, I will stop with the Tim bashing now 🙂