My friend and mentor, Phil Holcomb, wrote on my Facebook wall,
“I’m really happy for you that you did what was necessary to make this happen. Wishing you a terrific adventure!”
To date I have reached 70% of my fund raising target. At the end of May I was at 41%. I was facing a deadline imposed by The Arthritis Society. In order to secure a spot with the team that would be traveling to Machu Picchu I had to top up my fund raising target. As I saw it I had three options:
- A. Top it up from savings and continue to fund raise until October to recoup my own contribution (I am allowed to continue to raise funds until two months after my trip).
- B. Fold the game right now, forego the trip to Machu Picchu in August. Celebrate that hitting 41% of my target is still more that I’ve done in the past five months than I have in the past ten years towards the cause. Let go of Joints In Motion and focus on my other life priorities.
- C. Look into the possibility that I may transfer to a later trip and continue to fund raise with a timeline that is more workable.
With encouragement from Phil and from my financial advisor Bruce, I opted for A. From where I sit now, option A is the only real option I had. To not go was not an option.
There is an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called Tapestry. I get goosebumps when I think of this episode. In the story-line, Captain Jean-Luc Picard is given an opportunity to change a past decision – a decision which caused him to be impaled and nearly killed by a big burly alien, a decision which he regretted making.
In an alternate reality Picard had the opportunity to avoid the fight with the alien. He succeeded in avoiding the fight, in avoiding being impaled, in avoiding being nearly killed.
Picard then discovered that there was a consequence to this alteration of his past. It meant that his present, his career, his life took an entirely different direction. It meant he was no longer Captain Picard, bold and wizened captain of the starship Enterprise; now he was Lieutenant Picard, a lowly subordinate. He complained to his tormentor, the omnipotent being called Q.
“The man that I’ve become has a bleak and dreary life. That man is bereft of imagination and passion!”
“That life is different from the life that you remember. That Picard never had a brush with death, never came face to face with his own mortality, never realized how fragile life is, or how important each moment must be. So his life never came into focus. He drifted through much of his career, with no plan or agenda…going from one assignment to the next, never seizing the opportunities that presented themselves… He learned to play it safe…and he never, ever got noticed by anyone… And no one ever offered him a command.”
Picard then asked for and received the chance to put things right again. He had his brush with death, he survived. He let go of the regret he had held towards his past rash actions, and he learned to recognize the significance of that pivotal moment in his becoming the man he became.
I can’t compare the trek in Machu Picchu with getting stabbed through the heart by a big burly alien. Yet I know that to decide not to go, as per option B above, is to decide to settle for a bleak and dreary life, is to decide to become a man who is bereft of passion and imagination, is to decide that I’d rather be like Lieutenant rather than Captain Picard.
That is simply not an option!
My friend Matina once posted on Facebook this quote from Hunter S. Thompson:
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely… in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
Machu Picchu, here I come!