Even though the temptation to write about Valentine's Day this month is a strong one, I think I'll pass on reminding folks of the celebrated retail holiday.
Nope, for this month I was thinking about what the meaning of life is, or at least what makes it worth living. There are books that tell you there are a thousand things you should see or a thousand things you should try before you die; my idea is different. I call it the 100-100-100 club.
The first 100 is a sad note, so I'll start with that and try to cheer you up as we go. I feel that for a life to be complete that you need 100 losses in your life. The loss of a family member, the loss of a pet, a marriage, a job - all of these losses are placed in our lives to let us grow and remember that our time is set. No one gets out alive so by experiencing loss we experience life.
Why 100? Simply because each one takes a toll on us and to learn, we have to correct errors that cost us a job. We have to learn to communicate so that we can deal with losses of friends and ends to marriages. We have to learn to grieve "better" each time so that we celebrate a life instead of cursing it for the lack of timeliness, because there never is a good time.
The second 100 is 100 crazy days and nights. I'm not suggesting anything illegal (well maybe), but that you have some fun in your life. I've jumped off cliffs into Lake Superior, I've rappelled down a cliff, swam in the ocean and woke up at a friend's house in the same clothes from the night before. These events build more than just character; they also build personality.
One summer my job entailed working with youth and after our main program of prevention activities had concluded we hit a river in Wisconsin and went whitewater rafting. The first time I went, I was bloody and bruised and swore I'd never go again. I did though, five or six more times. By overcoming a fear, I now have a memory that will last a lifetime. The nights you spend with friends, the laughter, the smiles - all of those nights add to your total. I don't think I've reached my 100 yet and I won't stop even when I do.
The last 100 is 100 loves. Sorry folks, I'm not going to list off my dating history, at least without changing names and places to protect the guilty anyway. I feel that you need to experience love many times; 100 may be out of reach but not if you consider the sources of love that exist. I have three children that love for them will never go away. I've been married twice; so I'm up to five. My family, including my mother and my father, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in-laws and outlaws; this list keeps growing.
There are other loves. The puppy love you experience as an adolescent where you write notes and buy a rose on Valentine's Day for that special someone who may not even know your name. The high school romances, the different dates and relationships that made it to the love level - these all add to your life, even though at some points it seems like a subtraction. Lastly, your pets: I've buried many and still miss them all. Is it realistic to see those 1,000 places before you die; not likely, but I challenge you to shoot for 100 loves, 100 losses and 100 crazy nights.
Brian Foreman can be reached at brian@ briankeithforeman.com.