One of These Days
We've all said it. No doubt we all meant it. But were we really lying to ourselves?
"One of these days, I'm going to ..." Uh huh. Maybe. But, will you?
Being parked deep in the quagmire of the pandemic lockdown, I've been thinking about what happens when we come out of this forced experiment in partial isolation. With all this time we have had to think great thoughts, no doubt many of us have entertained big ideas of what we will do when released.
Through the decades I could not possibly count the number of times someone has said to me "One of these days I want to ..." or often put another way, "I've always wanted to ...". It's generally said in relation to a conversation about something I've done or am doing. Hunted Africa. Hunted Alaska. Shot doves in Argentina. SCUBA dive on shipwrecks. Fly airplanes into the backcountry. Now, there's no getting around the fact that I was given a head start by virtue of being raised in an unusual family. I went to the public library or the movie theater in a boat. We lived on the water, and from about age eight I was allowed to take one of the John boats and motor the half-mile into town. It was common for me to come home from school and ask where Dad was, only to be told: Montana, Columbia, Spain, etc. Those were his business trips -- shooting, hunting, and fishing around the world.
My response whenever someone says, "I've always wanted to ..." is simply, "Then do it." It doesn't seem like it's that easy, but it really is. Time and finances will move into place once you decide you will simply do it. Most of the time, the big roadblock is in your head. Sure, many of the great adventures will be beyond the financial reach of most of us, but a lot of these things can be done. A Western big game hunt is easily doable. Learn to SCUBA dive? Just make the call to the local dive shop and sign up. Want to learn to fly an airplane? Call a flight school and sign up for an introductory flight. Want to get into long-range shooting? Just go to a match. No rifle needed. Watch, learn, talk to people. That one step will propel you into a new sport.
So, what brings all this to mind? It wasn't original with him, but my father said something that always stuck with me. I asked if he regretted anything in his life. He said he regretted very few things he had done, but he sure regretted a lot of things he didn't do. And this is from a guy who did a lot!
A doctor friend said this week he's seen a lot of patients who planned all their lives for a big retirement, only to reach that age and then be physically unable to do the things they wanted to do. His thought, and I agree, is to start taking "retirement" from the first day you start working. Just a little at a time, at first. More as you age, have more time, and have put away more money.
What would you do as fun "retirement" activities as you go along? High on my list would be shooting schools. Sig Academy, Thunder Ranch, Gunsite, etc. You'll be getting practical skills while have a great time. Hunts, of course. Can't afford to hunt in Africa? Maybe you can. If you could put just $30 a week into your African Hunt fund, in 10 years you'll have enough for a nice plains game hunt.
I'm not saying to put yourself into financial jeopardy, but within reason, when we get our pardons from the warden and can do things again, perhaps you can give yourself permission to start working on some of those "One Of These Days" items.
Make a list. Do it while you can. Tomorrow is promised to no one. ~ Tom
Author, outdoorsman, gun rights activist, and firearms enthusiast for more than five decades, Tom Gresham hosts Tom Gresham's Gun Talk, the first nationally-syndicated radio show about guns and the shooting sports, and is also the producer and co-host of the Guns & Gear, GunVenture and First Person Defender television series.