First of all, the last thing that I expect in the world is that I will live to be 100 years old. Not that I’m overly worried about it. And honestly, I’m not sure I even want to live to be 100 years old. So my expectations for myself to reach 100, let alone 70 or 80, are really pretty low. I’m just trying to do the best that I can while I’m here.
But I saw this last week, and it made my day. Apparently, this was written by an 8-year-old girl about what she sees for herself when she’s 100 years old.
When I was 8, I wasn’t thinking this way at all. It took decades for me to start thinking like this, and I do… all the time. Jodi and I sometimes fantasize about just disappearing somewhere that nobody knows us. Where we don’t have to talk to anyone at all. Where we can just exist peacefully “with no crap,” as 8-year-old Emma puts it.
I’m not sure what’s going on in Emma’s life to make her think this at 8 years old. It’s a little concerning, but it’s also funny for sure. And I love that she’s put enough thought into it to have a destination, a tiny dog companion, and menu all planned out. I can relate.
It’s kind of fun to fantasize about it. If it were me, I might pick an isolated farm somewhere in France instead of the Bahamas. And I’d probably have about 20 dogs of all sizes. I love tacos, but not necessarily fish tacos, so I’d probably have to pick macaroni and cheese and chicken tacos. I’m definitely on board with “no crap” though. That’s a must.
But it’s a fantasy, right? We live in the here and now. All kinds of people have our contact info, even though we sometimes really wish they didn’t. And there’s definitely loads of crap to deal with.
So I’m not really expecting the fantasy to happen. As I said, I’m just trying to do my best with the time that I have, however long that may be.
I hear a lot of people talk about how they want to be remembered — for this, for that, for being this way, for having done that thing. I don’t really think that way, not anymore at least. I’m more aligned with the thinking in the following quote. I heard somebody say it originated with Bob Hope, but who knows for sure.
“In your 20s and 30s, you worry about what other people think. In your 40s and 50s, you stop worrying about what other people think. Finally, in your 60s and 70s, you realize they were never thinking about you in the first place.”
So or me, I don’t really care about how I’m remembered by others. Because they’re most likely not thinking about me at all. Let’s face it, the only people who are really remembered by others for generations are a relatively select few people who were famous or notorious for some reason. And even that fades from memories and histories.
For me, it’s more about living a life that you’re proud of. What kind of person are you? How did you treat others? Did you stand up for justice when millions of others fought against justice because its easier? Did you have your priorities straight? Are you satisfied that you did your very best, as Al Brooks said in Defending Your Life (which just might be my favorite movie of all time)?
I think the key is a line in Emma’s little essay: “live my best life.”
Like Emma, I don’t feel like I need all the stuff in the world. A hut might be just fine (well, maybe not hut, but just a small, clean house). I don’t want a huge house (too much to clean). I don’t want a bunch of cars (you can only drive one of them at a time anyway). I do like my creature comforts — a comfy chair and bed, some good fresh food, satellite TV, my wife, dogs, and chickens in the backyard. But I don’t really need a whole lot more than that.
Those are the things that would be part of my best life. That, plus the feeling that — even though I’ve screwed up far more often than I’ve done things right — overall I treated others the way that I wanted to be treated. And also, no crap.