Moving To Ecuador
By Neil McKinnon
A friend of ours is moving to Ecuador. When my wife asked her why, she said she had made a list of the things she wanted to do before she died.
That seemed logical so I too decided to make a list of the things that I should do before disease or death carried me off or rendered me so wasted that I wouldn’t care one fig about a list or any item on it.
To be useful my list had to contain only items that I was capable of doing or else it would be just an exercise in wishful thinking.
For example, if I put down that I wished to make a million dollars before I died and the get up and go required to fulfill a wish of that nature had gone before it got up then the acquisition of a million dollars would not be a legitimate item for my list.
Likewise, becoming a violin virtuoso, playing major league baseball, being canonized as a saint and having sex with Jennifer Lopez would, of necessity, be absent from my list.
So, to find appropriate items for my list I cast my mind back past decades to search out the elements of life that I had missed and which might be attainable at this late stage.
I decided not to put Ecuador or any other country on my list because I reasoned that if I travelled to a new place I would arrive with the same tired personality and behaviours I had when I left home.
I determined the criteria I would use would be to think back to those times when I was most uncomfortable because being uncomfortable must be due to some lack, either within or outside of me, which it might be possible to remedy even at this belated hour.
Therefore, the only journey I would take would be that from the cradle to where I now sit, feeble but still capable of making a list and perhaps, God willing, acting on it.
I selected many items for my list but rejected them all for a variety of reasons: Attainment would take too much effort, result in too much stress or detract too much from those things that I already found valuable in my life.
Thus, at a loss and with a blank sheet in front of me, I decided there was only one alternative … so I prepared a list of all the things that caused me worry hoping that explicit identification would be the first step in eliminating many of these psychic critters from my mental menagerie.
However, most of my worries turned out not to be trivial and so I concluded that they were legitimate and, as such, must be pared from my list.
After paring only two remained and so I resolved: 1. that I would no longer worry about how I appeared to others, and 2. I would no longer worry about how the future appeared to me.
Apart from these two items I would continue to live my life as I now do with the exception that I would be able to attend social functions without combing my hair or wearing a tie, and I would cease to care if so doing resulted in fewer invitations.
Not worrying about the future or how I appeared in the present allowed me to quit fretting about such seemingly important and time-consuming activities as making money, my moves on the dance floor, keeping others happy, being published and getting laid.
Lest someone misunderstand, I do not intend to give up all of these activities only to quit fretting about them.
I am not a stubborn man and I do not beat dead horses. During my life I have many times quit smoking and drinking. Consequently, I determined that I would follow the prescripts on my list for one month to see if I could detect any improvement to either my personality or my outlook.
As of yesterday, one month has gone by, and this morning I booked my ticket to Ecuador.