One Epic Thing Before You Die

Chicken feet. Ever had?

I’m pretty sure it’s a calorie-neutral food, since it takes as much energy to EAT it as there is IN it. It’s pretty fatty, lot of little bones, or cartilage, or whatever. Not sure why it’s a part of Dim Sum, but that’s what was offered this past weekend, and I’ve never had it, and you only live twice, right?

And then, somehow, the topic of whaling came up in our party of 13 – not entirely surprising (oh, it was from outfitting barbs at the end of the chopsticks, turning them into little harpoons). Anyway, my buddy says, before he dies, he wants to go on a whaling expedition and kill a whale himself. And then feed his family, friends, and a village. And himself. That’s pretty manly stuff, I’ll admit. He follows up this declaration with:

You’ve gotta do one epic thing before you die.

And then it hit me – I have had red bean ice cream before.

And then something way more significant hit me – what would mine be? It was exhilarating to think about. Killing a large beast to feed hundreds (dozens?) is both epic and bad-ass, but just not my cup of green tea. It doesn’t drive me. It doesn’t get me jumping out of bed, “Alright, Captain Ahab, time to whale for fish, or fish for whale, or just… whale. Whatever. I’m hungry.”

And then I thought a little more about the construct of his remark… one epic thing… one epic thing. Let’s address the grandiosity of the thing before the singularity of it. It’s gotta be big. BIG. Bordering on ridiculous. RIDICULOUS. Aim for the bleachers. Sure, there are fewer people after the over-sized goal, and the nature of those things is that the pay-off is larger. Yet, is this what we mean by epic? If my understanding of epic is correct, maybe we really mean something hella-crazy-wikked cool, or whatever the kids say nowadays after I yell at them to get off my lawn as I wave my harpoon cane. I’m going to fathom that whatever this thing is for me, it’s the most cool/epic if it most aligns with my purpose / life path.

And then there’s the one-ness of it. One? ONE? Only one epic thing? After I accomplish this singular event… that’s it? Is everything downhill from there? I can’t ever do that again? Do I spend the rest of my life saying, “Yeah, I did that one epic thing back then, yep, I’m awesome,” or another chest-pounding phrase? Or do I just feel it as an other-dimensional warmth and confidence to do whatever since I pulled off that one epic thing? The idea of the best being behind me is semi-depressing. Here’s an ideal: do the epic thing not just once, but each day / all the time.

And then we can turn the “one epic thing” into the “all the time awesome thing”.

And then… you die.