In Mags & Shorts, Short Stories

Schedules, deadlines, priorities – it’s a struggle as endless as the ticking clock. Despite the many ‘To Do’ lists we are forced to deal with every day, we find our self staring again at the same three choices the next morning; what we have to do, what we need to do and what we would really love to do.

That’s Life, I guess… but is it living?

   I am a writer; it is the way I pay the bills. Yet lately it seems my To Do list is much longer than usual – Of course, that’s a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. For the last few weeks my view of the outdoors has been limited to the landscape scene on my computer’s desktop. In fact my work, just this month, has kept me from attending two birthday parties and a very rare Springsteen concert. Guess you could say I’m ‘in demand.’ But all things being equal, I rather be ‘outside’ crossing off items on my Bucket List.

Thinking about all of this has stirred up memories of my Grandfather, and his once sage advice. In his day he was famous for saying, “Everybody has a G.O.A.L. So, Get Out And Live…” To him it was more than an adage.

At 17 the local doctor told him that his young heart was failing and that he only had, at best, “months”. But instead of letting that deadline get to him, he started to walk, jog, and eventually run all over his small town. It wasn’t long before he was spotted sprinting up a staircase three steps at a time, and doing errands for his neighbors, on a second–hand bike.

After awhile, feeling a little stronger, he mustered the courage to ask the local school teacher to marry him… He had three kids, became a deacon in his local church and, in time, rose to the leadership of his county’s predominate political party. Then one night, after coming home late from a rally, he quietly laid down across the foot of his bed, so not to disturb his sleeping family, closed his tired eyes …and never woke up.

Herbert Barton Green

Instead of months, he lived to be 30; nearly twice the 17 years everyone thought he was allotted. And to this day, the old folks in town stop my dad on the street to tell him how much they miss their friend.

Though he passed decades ago, it seems my grandfather is still ‘in demand’. And it’s all because Barton Green (who I am named after) had a goal… he Got Out And Lived.

Getting through what we have to do, what we need to do – that’s Life. But not allowing those distractions to get in the way of living, that’s accomplishment; a GOAL worth attaining.

From here on, when I sense my deadlines are on the verge of boxing me in, limiting my life, I’m going to follow Gramps’ example. In fact, when I finish this piece, I intend to switch off my computer’s desktop landscape and go take a walk outside – maybe run a few laps. Heck, I might even muster the courage to call up a certain girl and get her to join me on a few errands.

…Everybody has a GOAL. But those bucket list wishes will never be attained until we decide for ourselves to “Get Out And Live…”

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