He was brash and outspoken. He built his political platform on an appeal to the working class. He was accused of being an aspiring dictator, a demagogue, and a threat to America's very existence.
Born in 1893, Senator Huey Long served as governor of Louisiana from 1928-1932 before being elected to the United States Senate. During his tenure as Governor and Senator, Long acted as the de facto dictator of Louisiana, exerting control over the state from his office in Washington, D.C.
In 1935, Long was planning a primary challenge to Franklin Roosevelt in the upcoming presidential election--until he was assassinated.
His last words were, "God, don't let me die. I have so much left to do."
You will likely not die from an assassin's bullet.
But eventually your last day will arrive. When that happens, your best-laid plans become the things you would have done--if you just had more time.
And like Huey Long, you have so much left to do.
So, start doing it.
In the last five years, my wife and I have each lost a parent to suicide. My mother took her own life in 2014. She was 56. My father-in-law died last June. He was 62. Both of these experiences have been a stark reminder that none of us know when, how, or why our story will end.
But it will end.
When I met my father-in-law almost fifteen years ago, I am sure he had no idea his story would end before sunrise on a dark June morning, three years before he was old enough to have his first checkup covered by Medicare. When I was a kid, and my mom was still vibrant, fun, and beautiful, I am sure she never envisioned her life ending under such sad circumstances.
Though both my father-in-law and my mother chose when their lives would end, not long before those decisions were made both likely believed they had years to accomplish their goals.
There was time to start a business.
There was time to go back to school.
There was time to make it to the corner office.
There was time to take their grandkids to Disneyland.
And then there wasn't.
When it comes to time, none of us walk around with a blank check in our pocket.
It's all borrowed.
The passing of two parents when they still had so much life to do accelerated my own desire to make sure my bucket list is a bit emptier. Over the past year, I've written two novels and run for city council in my hometown.
These recent brushes with tragedy have changed me. Before, I used to be critical of content that sounded in any way "self-helpy." Frankly, I was actually kind of a pretentious jerk about it.
Now, I get it.
We all need a push some days. We all need a little help finding the best versions of ourselves.
So, here is a little push.
Start your business. Enroll in that class. Write the book you've always wanted to write. Travel. Tell someone you love them. Make the most of your borrowed time.