Today marks 400 days until we leave on our trip around the world. Yes, it sounds like a ridiculously long time away to be marking as a milestone, but I just love to count down to events. Plus, when you consider I started the countdown when there were over 700 days to go you will realize I am a bit obsessed.
Counting down is how I have marked big occasions throughout my life. It started when I was little and my mom would put up a Christmas countdown calendar on December 1st. Each day had a piece of candy that I could eat at the end of each day to mark one day closer to the big holiday! The anticipation was palpable every afternoon as the hour would arrive when I could tear off the candy and realize that I was 24 hours closer to enjoying my electric football game (the vibrating one), or car race track, or the latest collection of action figures. Those 25 days were the longest of the year, and at the time I was sure that no child should have to ensure such pain. It was obvious to me that the earth rotated slower between Thanksgiving and Christmas and the minutes were drawn out just to annoy me.
20+ years later I continue to count down the days with the anticipation of a small child awaiting the arrival of Santa Clause, at times convinced that laws of the universe must have caused time to slow. I have replaced the Christmas calendar of candy with electronic countdown systems. but the thrill of counting down remains a part of my planning process. I count down the hours left on a long flight, the days remaining to vacation, the number of pages left in a great book. I simply love knowing how much time is left until the “big event” will occur.
However, one major change has occurred in all those years – I fully understand now what John Lennon meant when he said “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I now realizing all those days until the next vacation, birthday, holiday, or date night with my wife are precious as well. We have 400 days to truly embrace all that Seattle has to offer and to spend as much time soaking up the laughter and smiles of dear friends. Looking forward means we cannot lose site of the present moment and the life we have right now. Marking the days off has become a chance for me to reflect on what made me smile and how I truly LIVED that day.
I will continue to count down the days to major (and minor) events in my life as that is how I am wired. However, I now enjoy the “long days” filled with anticipation and continue to live my life to the fullest. 400 days of happiness, excitement, laughter, and fun sounds pretty amazing to me.
For the next 400 days (and with luck 4,000+after) I will mark the end of each wonderful day by kissing my wife and that is better than any candy on any calendar. Life is sweet.