Over the course of two decades I sat in my buddy Jack’s archery shop shooting the breeze about hunting. Oh, sure, we talked about the usual things like any big bucks observed in the area…complained about silly hunting regulations…you know, the usual stuff hunters discuss during the off-season period.
But most of this chit-chat paled in comparison to when we started discussing our respective outdoor dreams. For it was the anticipation of what we wanted to experience and accomplish while hunting that truly inspired our lively conversations.
For Jack, it was a life-long dream to purchase some hunting land out West—in Montana, specifically. He just wanted a small parcel of land to call his own. A place to spend some quality time during his retirement years. A place where he could hunt elk and not worry about the distractions of hunting public land.
As was often the case, over the years Jack would tell me about several parcels of land his realtor was currently showing him. Each section of land sounded more perfect than the previous one. We would discuss why one parcel might have advantages over the next one. It was a process…and a task we both cherished because we were fantasizing about our passion for hunting and the outdoors.
Eventually, over the many years, I started to question in my mind if Jack was truly serious about ever becoming a landowner. I mean, let’s face it…together in the confines of his office we studied dozens upon dozens of suitable parcels with Jack never moving forward to achieve his western landownership dream.
Then one day I received an excited phone call. I had not been in to visit Jack for several weeks and he was gushing with news to share that he’d just returned from Montana where he had signed a purchase agreement. He had acted on his dream of owning hunting land out West. It was real…it finally happened!
The land already contained a mountain cabin, he had hired a well driller, and he was having power brought in by the electric company. After years of careful planning and dreaming it was now all coming together the way Jack had always envisioned it would. The dream was taking shape with great enthusiasm.
There was just one critical problem. About a week after signing the land deal Jack tragically died at his home from a cardiac ailment. He was 54 years old.
Sadly, Jack acted too late. His life-long dream was only fulfilled for about a week or so after he had returned back home from Montana. He never got to hunt the land. In fact, he only got to see it that one time during his initial visit when the purchase was completed. Today, almost 8 years later, Jack’s wife continues to hold ownership of the land because it’s tough to part with a loved one’s dream.
So often when it comes to experiences in the outdoors world I think about my buddy Jack. He finally took those first steps towards turning dreams into reality, but it was too late. He had waited too long. His time ran out long before it should have. Fate dealt him a cruel hand allowing him to finally experience his dreams, but then extinguishing his life only days later to never actually enjoy it.
Is it a hunting trip you’ve long thought about taking? Have you always wanted to go saltwater fishing off the Florida coast? Maybe it’s that cabin you’ve considered purchasing at your favorite lake. It’s time to get serious and stop procrastinating on fulfilling your outdoor experiences. As someone once told me, any great adventure can only be realized by taking that first step toward making it happen.
All of this brings me to my point. What are you waiting for?