I woke up restless.
I tried to write. I tried to get interested in a book. I tried to talk my wife into going downtown to watch the Cardinals game.
But mostly, I was waiting. Waiting to live. Waiting for life to kickstart itself. And the kickstart never came.
It never will.
Life doesn't kickstart itself. You kickstart it. I kickstart it. We are the kickstarters. And I failed.
So, here I am at 10:53 p.m. CDT tapping out a message to myself: if you're waiting to live, you're waiting to die.
People who live long enough and stay healthy tend to reach the point where they're waiting to die. William F. Buckley Jr. courageously admitted as much to Charlie Rose shortly before he died.
I want you to watch this whole clip. The seminal passage comes toward the end. Still, I want you to watch it from the start to finish, because Buckley tells us how to live—how to live a life that prepares us to die.
"I really am," Buckley says. "I'm utterly prepared to stop . . . living on."
Oh, dear God, how wonderful it must be to be prepared to stop living on. What a gift Buckley gave us with that admission. To be prepared to stop living on. Isn't that ever person's mission?
I'm not talking about giving up. Buckley never gave up. He fought the good fight and the great fight right until his final breath.
Buckley was simply done. He'd completed his mission. He worked almost every hour of every day of his life. He accomplished more than most of us could dream of, including a couple of appearances on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In—an achievement I have no hope of matching since the show's been off the air for 40 years.
Buckley never waited to live. That is why he was ready to die.
I didn't have to write this post tonight. It could have waited. But writing is, among other things, what I do, and I'm done with waiting to live. Because waiting to live is waiting to die. And I'm not ready to die.
But I hope someday I will be.