Don't Dream of Being Walter Mitty - LIVE the adventure of life! - LetterPile - Writing and Literature
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Don't Dream of Being Walter Mitty - LIVE the adventure of life!

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Cancer six times in my life. Each time Sarcoma, from unidentifiable to Myoxid to Osteosarcoma. This time it is terminal.

Walter Mitty is a character that let life pass him by until he started living it

Better yet, don't be me. I was always worried about money. Don't get me wrong, I still do, cancer is not a cheap way to die.

But I don't worry about treating myself to lunch or dinner at a nice restaurant once in awhile, or going out for coffee with friends.

While the trip to Italy maxed out my one card, it made me realize I could have been enjoying little things my whole life, and maybe doing a big trip wouldn't have been so important.

Italy, here we come!

My son Jim, and daughter Jasmine

My son Jim, and daughter Jasmine

Why Not Build Memories That Live a Lifetime?

Why wait until you are told you are going to die, or life has passed you by? Why wait to let someone know you care until you hear “terminal” or worse yet, they passed unexpectedly?

I waited too long to start living

I can’t believe I made it to Roma! August 2017, I made it to a country I always wanted to visit, but never thought possible. Better yet my son Jim and daughter Jasmine were with me. It was the trip of a lifetime.

What prompted it? In May I was told I am terminal. Eighteen months or less. Right now, I am working on trying to prove them wrong.

We stayed at an Airbnb. My first time ever staying at an Airbnb. To say that I had trepidations about it would be putting that mildly. It was a cute little place, right near a bus line and a tram. Now, if I can stay at an Airbnb I will. The experience is so great!

While we were in Roma, we took public transit. No rental cars. Public transit and feet. Great way to get around and see the sights.

During one of the Metro rides in Roma , I started thinking (that is DANGEROUS), WHY do we always put off things we would like to do? Ok, maybe a trip like this needs to be saved for but in the meantime, why not go exploring at home? In your city or in your state? Do something that you wouldn't normally do. Why wait for the simple little things? Why does a gift have to be a thing? Why can’t it be an experience, why can’t it be a memory?

OH, stop what you are thinking. Experiences don’t have to be expensive.

Think about it. Take a friend to that little French restaurant for lunch for a birthday gift. Better yet, an “Un”birthday gift. Or go to the zoo with some friends and just enjoy laughing and company. Even just getting together over coffee.


Take advantage of what is in your town or city or state.

Day trips! Bus rides! Whatever just get out there! What am I talking about? Everywhere has local churches that are beautiful. Full of stained glass, older churches with unique architecture. You don't have to be a part of that particular religion to appreciate the craftsmanship that went into designing and building the church, or the beauty of the art of the glass, or statues. Seriously, if *I* can visit the Vatican, then you can explore your local old churches.

If *I* can visit the Vatican you can visit local churches!

Hallway leading to the Sistine Chapel.  EXTREMELY beautiful!

Hallway leading to the Sistine Chapel. EXTREMELY beautiful!

You can experience this ANYWHERE!

While in Roma we did something anyone can do ANYWHERE! We took a cooking class with an Italian Chef. Gianni and Ceasare - amazing chef and sous.

It was so much fun, and the food turned out amazing. So simple - we made sauce from TOMATOS, and two types of pasta, egg noodles and Cavatelli.

So do you get where I am going with this? GET OUT THERE AND DO SOMETHING. DON'T WAIT FOR SOMEDAY!! Find little things and do them, they will build an incredible number of memories.

Making delish pasta from scratch

Making delish pasta from scratch

Sous (that is how he introduced himself) Me, Jim, Ceaser, Jasmine

Sous (that is how he introduced himself) Me, Jim, Ceaser, Jasmine

Something else you can do where you are!

Horseback riding! We visited Equiazione. Basically it is a sanctuary for horses. Every horse there has a story, some sadder than others. We spent the day with Butteros (Italian Cowboys in essence).

A train ride is an experience too!

We took the train to Castel Gandolfo Train Station, where Matteo picked us up. We ventured on to a local family run organic farm and picked tomatoes for the sauce Matteo made up for lunch. We stopped a small cheese maker and got some sheep's milk cheese, first salted, and some fabulous ricotta. Another stop for coffee and a pastry made with wild strawberries. You can do all this at local farmer’s markets!!

At Equiazione, we learned about the way they care for horses and the philosophy behind it. It isn't your standard show up the horse comes out of the stable saddled and you go for a ride. Nope, they talk to you find out your level explain their way of doing things, homeopathic and organic. You meet the horses. It was very educational.

Jasmine enjoying life

Jasmine enjoying life

Jasmine being a "ranch hand"

Jasmine being a "ranch hand"

Jim taking a nap

Jim taking a nap

Do the Small Little Things Where You Live!!

Build that book of memories. To be honest I would have never thought of going horseback riding at home. I read the description and thought Jasmine would enjoy the experience, as much as I would, I think she enjoyed it more.

Seriously. Please do not wait until you are in my position. I spent too much time worrying about things that really didn't matter. Learn from my mistakes. I made so many of them worrying and trying to do things that didn't matter. I wasted so much of my life, so much of the time I could have been spending building memories with my children. I am not saying go be irresponsible. But do something, if funds are tight, go to a park you have never visited and picnic. Walk through it. Visit a local beach, visit and volunteer somewhere. There are so many amazing experiences! Don't waste precious time!

Take your family and go do simple little things. Do things by yourself.

Give yourself time to enjoy life. Only you can give yourself permission to do that. You need someone to give you permission, ok, I give it to you.

© 2018 Jean Lee