This week we are in Nebraska, to say goodbye to Mr. Montana’s mom. We had planned a trip later in the fall, but it looked like we didn’t have that much time. So we packed up in a day and drove 4 days straight to get here. We had a chance to say our goodbyes. She passed away a few days later on her 66th birthday.

This situation and being back in Nebraska has me thinking more about mini-retirements. More specifically the things we start now, and the things we plan to do later.

See, 5 years ago this summer, I was also in Nebraska for a funeral. That time it was for my oldest son, Micah. He had passed away at 20 years old.

I’ve written a number of challenging pieces over the years. But to write his obituary almost broke me.

Because the things I wanted to write most, he hadn’t done yet.

The list of things he had planned to do was long. And his time was cut short.

Worst yet, he hadn’t even started most of them.

But that’s true for a lot of us, isn’t it? It’s easy to put off the things most important to us. You know, until a better time. When we are older. Or more financially secure. Most laughably, when we will have more time.

In my mentoring programs, I talk a lot about “start small and scale”. Just start small, test it out, learn something, then do something a tiny bit bigger. But you have to start. Start on the things that matter most.

We come together for funerals to celebrate that list of things done. The deep meaningful relationships, the accomplishments, the contributions, the way that person impacted us and those around them.

But it’s the undone list, the things we planned to do later but never got around to that haunt us, don’t they? When we have to move the “someday” items to the never column. Relationships never healed. Dreams never fulfilled. Plans never accomplished. Conversations never had.

We mourn the person we lost. But we also mourn the list of things that move over to the never column.

My someday list is long. But I’ve started on them. Because I want my never column to be short. And there is no time like the present to start small and scale.