WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?

On January 1, 2018 I did something that I had never in my life had done before.  I had just turned 50 years old the day before (12/31/17) and there was only one crazy thing that I wanted to do in all my life.  I have always watched people take what they call ‘The Polar Bear Plunge’.  I told my loving wife years ago I would love to do that just one time.

Well, Monday, January 1, 2018 was that time.  I told her if I didn’t do it this time I would never do it at all.  She was a real trooper because she hates the cold weather, but she chose to go and support me in my endeavor or quest or whatever else you want to call it. I called it my one-thing-bucket list.

I love a story I once heard.  I don’t know who the original writer was or whether it was just a made up story or a real story but I love the meaning behind it.  It goes like this:

A young man and his new bride was cooking the Thanksgiving meal for the family.  He noticed before she put the ham in the oven to bake she cut big chunks off each side.  He asked her why she done that and her reply was that it was a tradition and her mother always done it.  At the dinner table curiosity got the better of him and he asked his mother-in-law why she always cut big chunks off each side of the ham before baking it in the oven.  Her reply was that it was tradition and her mother always done it.  Now that everyone was talking about the strange tradition all the attention turned to the grandmother.  “Why did you always cut big chunks off the sides of the ham before putting it into the oven to bake?”  Someone asked.  Her reply was, “Because my pan was too small.”

My wife and I met several families down there that had made it a tradition on New Year’s Day to take the plunge.  I saw people as old as seventy, eighty and probably even into their nineties and children as young as eight, nine, ten or eleven braving the elements to do something few people venture out to do in a lifetime.

Why do we do what we do?  If the Lord doesn’t come back anytime soon and I’m here twenty, thirty, forty years from now I want to tell my grandchildren and maybe my great-grandchildren about my polar bear plunge.  Who knows, maybe one day they’ll want to do it and I would want to be a part of that, even if it was nothing more than being a spectator.  I have seen way too many people say they wished they had done something when they were younger.   Sure, we’ve all done stupid stuff when we were young and some people would even say those that take the ‘Polar Bear Plunge’ is stupid or crazy for doing it.  One of my worst fears in life is that if I didn’t do it would I look back years from now with regret?  How many things are we going to look back on with regret in our golden twilight years wishing we had done differently?  Or done at all?  I look back on some things I did or didn’t do with regret now.  I certainly didn’t need or want another.

Now some of those people who said I was crazy and wouldn’t do it with me are now telling me they want to do it with me next year.  I didn’t say I was going to do it again but I’m not going to say I won’t either.  It remains to be seen.  I will say this: I have never felt more exhilarated since I took that plunge in the Gulf of Mexico back on New Year’s Day. Maybe it was something I was so excited to do with a bunch of other people that my adrenalin hasn’t worn off yet.  Helen Keller once said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Do something spontaneous in 2018.  Do something because it’s out of the norm for you. Nothing illegal of course but live life a little and enjoy it.  Don’t sit around when you’re too old to do anything enjoyable and think back and wish what could have been.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

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