By Frosty Wooldridge

At the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, you might consider your life on this planet as an “eternity” of 80 years, give or take. You may choose any style, any path and any attitude. You may live large, average or choose a “meek” existence. It’s up to you. It’s your choice. It’s your individual “eternity.” Once you draw your last breath on this planet, your “moment” is gone forever.

We humans enjoy and/or are cursed with the fact that we know our time on this planet will end. Other creatures on this globe do not realize their lives carry a departure date.

Mountain man John Muir said it with style as to bears: “Bears are made of the same dust as we, and breathe the same winds and drink of the same waters. A bear’s days are warmed by the same sun, his dwellings are over-domed by the same blue sky, and his life turns and ebbs with the heart-pulsings like ours, and was poured from the same First Fountain. And whether he at last goes to our stingy heaven or not, he has terrestrial immortality. His life not long, not short, knows no beginning, no ending. To him life unstinted, unplanned, is above the accidents of time, and his years, markless and boundless, equal Eternity.”

So, what do you choose to do in the last part of your eternity? What actually enthralled you to the point of fervor, passion and joy during the early parts of your eternity?

Have you watched Paul McCartney? He’s still playing his guitar and writing music at 75. What about Mick Jagger? He’s still dancing across the stage at 77. What about Betty White at 95? She’s still entertaining. What about Danielle Steel? She’s still writing brilliant novels. What about President Jimmy Carter at 90? He’s hammering nails and building houses for Habitat for Humanity? At 104, Olivia de Haviland still participated in the arts until her last breath in 2020.

So, if you’re over 60, 70 or 80, the window of creative opportunity narrows with each sunrise. Unlike the bear, you know he’s coming…the Grim Reaper. But, he’s not here yet! Big question: what new ideas, paintings, events, contests or anything that excited you in your youth can still be realized today?

Like the bear who does not know about his final moment, you may pursue anything your heart desires, which in the end, pushes that “final moment” further into the future. One of my dear friends, Lindy, watches her 95 year old father play competitive tennis matches regularly. My friend, Bob, at 77, swims a mile six days a week.

I remember A.B. Facey, an Australian, at 88, wrote a book: My Fortunate Life. No publisher would touch it. He decided to self-publish his book. In reality, he was an ordinary man. Because it was a memoir of his life as a soldier in WWI to circus performer to cowboy to driller to boxer—his book became a best seller. Audiences thrilled to his presentations. Colleges gave him honorary doctorates. At 90, when his eternity ended, Australians celebrated him as one of their greatest heroes.

Another woman, Helen Santmyer, at 88, wrote a New York Times best seller: And Ladies of the Club.

J.K. Rowling, living on welfare, began writing her Harry Potter stories on napkins at a coffee shop in London. Well, you know the rest of her story as one of the richest self-made millionaires in all of Great Britain.

So where does that leave you as we head into 2021? Answer: endless possibilities to make a mark in this world. You don’t need to become famous by volunteering at a childcare center or a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. You may grab a paintbrush and dab a few colors onto a canvas. You might take a pottery class that allows you endless creative pursuits. You might take up macramé, photography, jewelry making, guitar, piano, reading, storytelling, and dozens of other vibrant paths.

Or you can sit and wait! Followed by most, but not recommended!

As for this writer, I suggest a book that I’ve read 23 times and expect to read another 23 times: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. Her book will fire your imagination, excite your creative mind and inspire you toward passionate living during your eternity.

Whatever you do, 2021 beckons renewal of your creative genius, your fountain of wisdom from your life well-lived.

Go climb a mountain! I will meet you at the top!

“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club” – Jack London

Author's Bio: 

Frosty Wooldridge, math-science teacher, has bicycled over 150,000 miles across six continents in the past 45 years. He's the author of 15 books and working on two more. His plans for 2021 are to bicycle the Lewis & Clark Trail from St. Louis to Astoria, Oregon, 4,100 miles.