What would you give if near the end of life, you had the opportunity to start over? Imagine facing certain death and being given the opportunity to go back and start over with another chance. Some of us might give everything to live a second time. Yet the problem you face at the end of life is that most things have very little value. And there’s not much you really have to use for bargaining that’s going to be yours much longer. But if you metaphorically died and forced yourself to start again, would that be like getting a second chance at life? You could take everything you learned in the first act and apply it to the second act but you would start with none of the possessions you accumulated. The things you had spent a lifetime purchasing and buying would be wiped away (houses, cars, all the earthly possessions). Any job/career built would be surrendered. You would be forced to start over with the gift of having a second chance at life, a forced opportunity to remold your life. This doesn’t mean that everything in the first round was a mistake. There are some relationships that I would never trade. So let’s say things like family and friends don’t change with the restart. In the second life, you start near the beginning of the adult life with your family but no job, no possessions, no debt. The slate has been cleared. You can take a completely different path, try something new, make the decisions you wish you would have made years ago.
For the most part we live a very simple life. I’m lucky enough to have a career that allows me to work from home. My wife and I share one car. And I enjoy riding a bike around town for errands. It’s not uncommon to see my 4-year-old son and me riding our bikes around town on a late summer evening. We try to keep our expenses low and live below our means. The question that I keep coming back to is when, even when you have what you want, it’s OK to want to want something different. I’ve been struggling with this question for the past couple of years. But it’s too easy to go with the flow and make the easy choice, but probably not the best choice.
The last few months at work have been busy with adding Surescripts e-Prescribing to Ascend. e-Prescribing enables doctors to send prescriptions electronically to Ascend and the pharmacy. We’ve had this on the hospital/inpatient side for a couple of years but the retail/outpatient side is a whole new animal. A major milestone was reached this week when we finished our certification testing which had been keeping me occupied and somewhat stressed the past two weeks.
We welcomed September with our annual vacation. Our vacation this year was a return trip to Puerto Rico and a 7 day cruise through the Caribbean. Last year we did the exact same cruise and had a blast. So much that we wanted to do it again this year. We went with some friends and enjoyed it as much as last year. The highlight had to have been the last day on the cruise where we took a small boat around Saint Maarten and stopped for a couple of hours off the coast at a spot where sea turtles lay their eggs. The boat stopped just off shore and the water was about 50 feet deep and you could easily see all the way to the bottom. Large sea turtles swam everywhere and would surface for air about every 20 minutes. Nicole, Dylan and I mainly just floated along with the current for about 90 minutes, sometimes within a couple of feet of a surfacing sea turtle or passing jelly fish. The entire week was filled with terrific memories and we hope to visit the islands again.
On the running front, I’ve run a couple of marathons the past couple months, both pacing for the 3:15 time. In August, the Santa Rosa Marathon needed a pacer. Even though I grew up in Santa Rosa, I had never run the marathon and wasn’t familiar with the course (flat and fast). My weekly running has been averaging between 50 and 60 miles and it was reassuring to run the flat course with a moderate effort and have a good time pacing the 3:15 group. I spent a few miles chatting with a couple of Google employees but since my pace seems to increase when I start getting lost in a coversation, I had to limit the talk during the 2nd half. Then the St. George Marathon was last weekend with ideal conditions. When I arrived at the expo the afternoon before the marathon, I was relieved to see Chris was slotted to pace 3:05 and my picture was next to 3:15. That 10 minutes of extra time is like an eternity! We had a nice tailwind the first 6 miles but my group of 40 was down to 20 by mile 16. And I had just a few runners those last few miles. Some of the runners in the group raced on ahead between miles 18 to 20. And most of those runners didn’t end up as road kill. It was nice to see some happy faces with some new PR’s waiting at the finish. I hung around the finish, enjoying the free Coca-Cola and ice cream. I watched Deirdre Greenholz unleash a sub 4 marathon and she seemed to be moving better than me after the finish line. The main thing I notice with my lower weekly miles is the recovery period of the longer runs. I was still feeling the pain of St. George five days later. But the hours I’ve recovered from fewer miles has given me the chance to spend more time doing other things, like playing tennis with Dylan.
Tomorrow Dylan turns 5 years old. We can’t believe how much fun it has been to have him in our lives. I do wish for a 2nd (3rd, 4th…) chance at times when parenting. Just to have someone step in before I say or do something stupid would be invaluable. As I’m about to tell Dylan to do something different, what I really need is someone to stop me and tell me to do something different. “Hold on! Now before you say or do what you are about to say or do to that boy, let’s think about that for a moment.” Having someone correct my “dad correcting son moment” with a different approach is sometimes the real corrective action needed. But mostly it’s just spending time together, interacting and doing things together – getting him involved. When I thought about spending time and interacting with our son, I always pictured the period of time when he was 7 or 8 years old and we could play catch together. It never occurred to me that we could do these things (mountain biking, tennis, free swimming in the ocean with sea turtles) at 3 and 4 years old. But that is what we have done and those are experiences I would do over and over and over.