How many summers do I have left?

We think we have all the time in the world.

We don't often like to acknowledge our mortality or that we have a limited number of trips around the sun. And when you do, the surprise of not knowing exactly what that number is can make you consider what you will do with the years you have.

I recently heard two people who I like a lot speak about this idea of "how many summers you have left."

One is Jessie Itzler, Author, Entrepreneur, Owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Fmr. Rapper. I heard him on a podcast first raise this question as he neared his 50th birthday. If you follow him (and you should), you'll see how he LIVES THE HELL OUT OF LIFE… UNAPOLOGETICALLY. He also only eats fruit until noon, but that’s another story. He stuck with me as an example. sidebar: I’d love to have drink (or eat fruit) and talk about parenting, marriage and life with him sometime. The dude has it figured out.

The other person oddly was John Mellencamp, the singer "Little Pink Houses" who is in his sixties and I’m pretty sure has filled his fair share of summers with some rock star living.

He said, "I know I have fewer summers ahead of me than are behind me."

BAM. That was the gut punch.

Because truth be told… I'm in the third quarter of my life.

I'm 52 and though I feel great and look great (I moisturize… a lot) I know that nothing is guaranteed. My time on this planet is limited and God willing I've got another 40+ years to go before I check out. But you never know.

So I asked myself the question posed by these two guys.

How many summers do I have left?

I don't know.

But the bigger question is,

"HOW WILL I FILL THOSE SUMMERS?"

 
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Like you, I have a bucket list and things that I've attached the words "someday," "when, "if" or "next year" to.

That is… how shall I say, "Horse shit."

What am I (or you) waiting for?

I'm not guaranteed next summer or the next 40+ summers.

I'm not saying drop everything, say F…it and proceed to check off all of your crazy bucket list items.

Sometimes the best stuff is simply being in the moment, being present, being where you are and who you're with.

(It's taken me 50 years to figure that one out.)

Pro-tip. It's the secret sauce to life and relationships

Don't know what to do? That's ok. Because as important as it is to know what to do with your remaining summers… it is equally important to know what NOT to do.

I've adopted a philosophy of, "If it isn't serving, helping me grow, be a better human or help the people I love... then don't do it."

Eliminate the bullshit.

Selfish? No.

Selfless? Yes.

When I'm selective, present, playing to my strengths, and actively participating and appreciating life… I'm true to myself.

If I'm living my purpose… on purpose, I can share the best of me with everyone. Not just during the summer, but every day.

When my time is up I want to go out on fumes, with an empty tank.

That means I've given it all away and squeezed all the juice of life.

Going out on fumes means I've left nothing unexplored, unattempted or unsaid.

Not all of it will work, but I can know that whenever my number of trips around the sun has expired when my allotment of summers is up that I made the most of them. I LIVED. I LOVED. I TRIED. I USED WHAT I WAS GIVEN. I left with an empty tank.

So as we approach the back half of this summer, ask yourself how you will make the most of it and all the summers to come.

Do the things you want, large and small.

  • Wear the skimpy outfit while you still have the body for it. *

  • Tell your person you love her… or him.

  • Call the friend you've lost touch with

  • Go for beers with your kids and talk about life… if they're old enough (I did this, and it was awesome… see above)

  • Walk by yourself at sunrise

  • Take the 3 Day Road Trip

  • Walk with someone you love at dusk.

  • Pet every dog you see and say "Hi Puppy"

  • Stop at a fruit stand on the side of the road and really talk to the people and eat a peach or tomato right there.

  • Read a book, outside under a tree. Just like when you were a kid.

  • Go to Spain. (Have yet to make that happen yet, but I will)

These are a few suggestions and some things that have occupied my summer so far. BUT YOU DO YOU.

(* skimpy outfit suggestion belonged to my girlfriend. For the record, she did. It was great!)

Go out on fumes with the rest the summers you're blessed with.

And don't forget to wear sunscreen.

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Bradley Richardson

www.bradleyrichardson.com

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