By WAYNE JOSEPH
In life, if we stick with it and want it enough, we manage to hit milestones.
Milestones are constructed to provide us with a reference point on the road of life. This can be done to reassure travelers that the proper path is being followed and to indicate the distance traveled.
Chief Justice Earl Warren once said this about milestones: “I’m very pleased with each advancing year. It stems back to when I was forty. I was a bit upset about reaching that milestone, but an older friend consoled me. ‘Don’t complain about growing old – many, many people do not have that privilege.’”
For me, that milestone was hit on my journey through life as I am writing my 500th column today for the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
No easy feat when I had lots of people tell me with my first or second column that I’d run out of people to write about in just a few weeks.
If I had listened to them I would have been discouraged and probably given up 9 years ago, but I didn’t and look where this has led me?
Of course, it all started with Ironman Joe Wedemann, and the marathoner Jason “Torpedo” Thorp and has since gone into the lives of swimmers, bikers, and just healthy people who find ways to stay healthy and fit.
My wife recently asked me what’s on my “bucket list” and I had to think what is really important to me.
Of course, topping my list is to live longer so that I don’t have to limit my bucket list and with that not being possible, I have a really modest list. Since being diagnosed with Gliobalastoma Multiforme stage 4 (brain cancer) in January 2011, writing this column has been extremely difficult. What once took me an hour now takes me several. Typing skills that were once mastered now are a struggle to connect the brain with the action of typing. While writing this column I have met and become friends with so many wonderful people.
Topping my list is to make it to Taiwan next summer to see my daughter, Jaclynn, graduate with her Master’s Degree.
Also, next summer is my wife’s daughter’s Sylas graduating with her Master’s degree in social work from the University of Washington in Seattle. I know this is opposite worlds apart, but if I can make it to both, I will.
To show that I am an optimistic person, I went and renewed my passport and more travel is hopefully on the horizon.
If things work out, I’d like to visit Brazil prior to the 2014 Olympics.
For 2013, I’d like to host the Big Island International Marathon and put on a couple more community runs while I still can.
My writing gives me great pleasure and I’d like to continue this for as long as people continue to read the various sports stories and especially this column, hopefully another 500 — but that would not be realistic.
The moral here is if I would have listened to those pessimistic readers who said I would run out of people to write about nearly 10 years ago, I would have stopped writing this column.
I’m glad I didn’t listen to them and I’ve continued to touch the lives of many people and inspire them to stay healthy and fit.
Also for 2013, I’d like to have in place the awarding of two scholarships worth $1,500 to be awarded to one male and one female who have participated in multiple high school sports in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation.
Yes that’s right, multiple BIIF sports (such as bowling and swimming, as an example).
Life is what we make it to be and I have made the most of my situation.
Right up to the time that I am expected to go I’d like to keep giving back to the community and I have scheduled a New Year’s Day Resolution Run/Walk with the price of admission being a canned good or monetary donation being made to the Hawaii Island Food Basket.
I could use a bunch of volunteers to pull this one off as my balance has been slowly deteriorating, but I will make the most with what I have remaining.
It is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 30 at 8 a.m. and will start from the parking lot of Coconut Island and make its way around the coast line of beautiful Hilo Bay. I’ve made the most of what life has thrown at me. In the process I’d like to thank the many friends and family that have stood by me. I would like to take this time to express my gratitude to all my readers throughout the decade for your support.
Like President Ronald Reagan once said: “Some may try and tell us that this is the end of an era, but what they overlook is that in America every day is a new beginning, and every sunset is merely the latest milestone on a voyage the never ends.”
And someday when you happen to see a very blessed man thanking his lucky stars, remember to smile and say “woof” but never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”
Email the Big Dog at firstname.lastname@example.org.