Point of No Return — Desire and commitment foster great inspiration

A capitalist society, such as ours, only truly blossoms when people find inspiration, set goals and put in the blood, sweat and tears to meet those goals.

When great people do great things, we succeed. When normal people do great things, we thrive. Of course, innovation plays a significant role in that success, as finding that “next great thing” is what often separates the marketplace — consider Apple’s place in the world of mobile computing following their creation of the iPhone. But it took more than just a concept to get them on their pedestal, and it takes more than just a concept to turn a dream into a reality.

It takes goals. You have to aspire to create the object or plan you’ve devised, and then you have to go about getting it done. And that goes for our professional and personal lives.

That’s probably what makes the concept of a personal “bucket list” so enticing to people. Yes, there was certainly a great movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman that brought the term “bucket list” to the mainstream, but that idea has weathered time since that movie came out in 2007. The best explanation I can come up with is people just like the idea of formulating some goals they’d like to meet before their all-too-short time on this planet comes to an inevitable conclusion.

Come on, ’fess up. We all have those items we’d like to cross off the list, right?

Personally, I’d like to visit India some day. I’d love to see the pyramids in Egypt, or take a boat trip down the Nile. And on top of my personal bucket list, I want to spend a month in Rome, exploring all the places I’ve read about and simply absorbing all the history that would surround me.

A bucket list doesn’t necessarily have to comprise solely things you’ve never done before. Maybe you would also like to rekindle some part of your past and do it one more time before you cross over into whatever you envision yourself crossing over to when you pass. For instance, I’d love to stand in a batter’s box and face live pitching one more time in my life. Of course, I’d need to get in some training first, as I’d most likely find myself shying away from a blazing fastball or simply passing out due to fear. And I’d probably need a clean pair of pants when I awoke.

But that’s what makes crossing these items off your list so rewarding. You dream it. You plan it. You work for it. And you make it happen.

My first job was at age 9, delivering newspapers. On my 14th birthday, my mother took me to a government office so I could get my worker’s permit, and I started my job that next morning. I’ve been working ever since, but I still feel good when I receive that paycheck at the end of the week. It’s rewarding to earn something through hard work, and achieving things in our personal lives should offer that same feeling.

I came across a story on Tuesday morning that got this subject on my mind, and it hasn’t left me yet.

UPI published a piece on Bill Grun, a 97-year-old man from Doylestown, Pa., who is living in an assisted living facility. Grun had a lifelong dream of becoming a firefighter, but it just never happened for him. Life has a way of doing that, right?

“Always been very admiring of firemen,” said Grun. “It is a milestone that when I was in my 70s, I never thought I’d reach.”

Well, the employees at Wesley Enhanced Living knew that Grun had that dream, and contacted the Doylestown Fire Company, and that company sent a crew and a truck to his birthday celebration on Monday. Grun was able to go on a ride in the truck, and had the opportunity to activate the siren.

“I was kinda hoping for a helicopter, but I’ll settle for a fire truck,” he joked to WTXF-TV.

Yeah, I love this guy. And just to add to his story, the article pointed out that last year he celebrated his 96th birthday by riding his bicycle with the Central Bucks Bike Club because he wanted to celebrate that he was still riding up to 10 miles a day.

Not to be outdone, Man Kaur, a 101-year-old sprinter from India, entered the 100-year-and-over category in the 100-meter race during the World Masters Games in New Zealand on Monday, according to another UPI article.

Kaur did not have a crowded field in the race, as she was the only competitor, but she finished the sprint in 1 minute, 14.58 seconds to earn a gold medal for her efforts. She was also planning to participate in the 200-meter sprint, javelin throw and shot put.

“I’m going to run again,” she said. “I’m not going to give up. I will participate, there’s no full stop.”

What have you done today?

These stories are both amazing and inspiring to me, and offer a real insight into what human beings can accomplish if they really put their hearts and minds to achieving goals. Remember when former president George H. W. Bush went skydiving on his 90th birthday a few years ago? Sure, you have to have a little luck genetically to be able to accomplish things like that at a certain age, but it also involves a whole lot of “want-to” and desire.

Look around our community today, and you will see scores of senior citizens being active and still accomplishing great things each and every day. If it doesn’t inspire you to achieve great things in your own life, you’re not paying attention.