“She was so full of life! Never missed an opportunity to live an adventure.”
I turned to my right to see who was speaking. It was not even someone I really knew. . .well, I might have seen him once or twice as I went jogging early in the morning but that was it. How did he hear about today? I shrugged and moved amongst the people gathered by the graveside, eavesdropping here and there.
“She held my hand when my sister died,” one lady said through her tears “And I had only started working for her a week.“
On and on like that, I circled the guests there. They could not see me anyway. So I listened to different stories about what an influence I had affected their lives positively or how I had inspired them by the kind of life I had lived.
All of a sudden, it all faded and I am just sitting in front of my laptop, trying to write this post. But as I write, one question keeps popping up at the back of my head: what is my life saying to people?
That was a scene from what I would love my life to have meant to people around me. But how close to reality is that scene? If I should go today, what then? Thinking about this could inspire gloom in my heart, but I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said that it is not too late to live the life you would have lived or something to that nature anyway. With that in mind, I know I can still make a choice to live my life differently. But if that is not enough motivation, I have Roz Savage to emulate.
Roz Savage was a management consultant and project manager at an Investment Bank. She had a comfortable income and a house in the suburbs. One day she sat down and wrote two versions of her obituary: the first was what she would have got if she continued with her present lifestyle while the second was what she really wanted her obituary to be like. They were vastly different. In her mid-thirties, she decided to change her lifestyle and live the obituary she wanted.
She had spent her years after her Oxford law degree, pursuing material satisfaction; and she had that in abundance. She lived in a big house, had a happy marriage and exotic holidays. And she ended up having an affair. Roz was unhappy deep down inside. What is not so surprising is that she was a Preachers daughter (in her case, both her parents were ministers). Like every old fashioned PK would know, material possessions are usually short while growing up. I suppose this fueled her desire to have. It was after she left her husband that she decided to write the two obituaries. That was when she knew something had to give.
So she gave up her job and began rowing. Yes, rowing. She set for herself an extreme rowing challenge and in 2005 signed up for the Atlantic Rowing Race. The race was from the Canary Islands to Antigua in the West Indies and she was the only one to row solo. It was 103 days of self realization as she had to battle with the tail of a hurricane and nearly got washed out to sea. Although she came last in the race, she completed it. She made it to the finish line.
She came to a place where she could honestly say that her experiences
…made me realise that happiness never comes from material wealth. It comes from inside, and from experiencing the world and having adventures.
She has set a challenge for herself to be the first woman to row the pacific – solo. She has already completed the first two legs of her journey and is getting ready for the third and last leg.
This British rower had the commitment and determination to change her life and also to grow as a person. It has been an incredible journey thus far. She is a motivational speaker, author and an environmental campaigner – a United Nations Climate Hero. Her message is simple: We have only one earth. She wants people to know that every plastic bag that is used ends up in the ocean. Rowing is how Roz chooses to give back.
So maybe you cannot row, I know I cannot. But it is never too late to set your life on the course you would prefer it to take. It is so easy to get stuck in a rut and to keep doing the same futile thing day after day. It is easy. But easy is not always the way to go. It is time to take one bold step towards adventure and a fuller life. Personally I am not interested in being the first woman to row solo across the pacific ocean. However, there is something to be said for a woman who was able to halt the avalanche that was her life and turn herself around with quiet determination and a strong will. With Roz Savage as an inspiration, I know exactly what I am going to do to live that life I would love to have lived. And I will not have to leave my husband to do that.