Calculate Your Bucket Age

Calculate Your Bucket Age

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Podcast

Welcome to The Bucket Podcast — a series of interviews that features an eclectic mix of people who all share one thing in common — they’re all going to die. But does being aware of that change the way they live? That’s the question host and The Bucket founder, David Abend, asks them in a fascinating collection of stories that explore the concept — and value — of mortality-based living.

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12. Five for Fighting: “Dude, look around!”

February 13, 2020

John Ondrasik, better known as “Five For Fighting,” has some advice for you: “Dude, look around!” That was the thinking behind his hit song,”100 Years”, and is still an underlying philosophy in his life. “Our lives are made of moments. For me, the song was like, try to recognize those moments as you’re living them. Don’t let them just be on some video when you’re 92 years old and people are playing your life and you’re like, Oh, that was pretty great. Hopefully, while it was great, you were sitting there going, this is pretty great.” In this podcast, you’ll hear John talk about his songs, career and how he plans to keep potential regrets from becoming real ones. What are you doing with your 100 years? We think listening to John may help you figure it out.

Transcript

100 Years by Five For Fighting playing the background.

David: You remember that song, right? It’s called “100 Years” by Five For Fighting and it was released back in 2003. I was literally a verse in that song — the part where he sings, “I’m 45 for a moment, the sea is high and I’m heading into a crisis chasing the years of my life.” I’m David, founder of The Bucket, and back then I was already thinking of creating The Bucket and I said to myself, “If I ever do it, I want to talk to them about this song and how much it reinforces the bucket’s mission of being aware of and enjoying every moment of your life.” Well, I did finally launch The Bucket and true to my wor, I reached out to Five for Fighting, which I learned is not so much a band as a man, and that man’s name is John Ondrasik. I was thrilled when John’s rep got back to me and said he would be happy to be on a podcast. “100 Years” was not John’s only hit. He had a number of songs work their way up the billboard charts and in fact, perform one of them, “Superman,” onstage at the concert for New York City following 911 alongside The Who, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Keith Richard, and Paul McCartney among many others. Today, John is still writing and performing and still helps manage his family’s business Precision Wire Products. I’ve waited 15 years for this, but I am thrilled to finally be able to welcome John Ondrasik to The Bucket Podcast. Welcome, John. Thanks for talking with me today.

John: David. Pleasure to talk to you.

David: So where are you today? When we first talked about doing this, you were in the middle of a tour. Are you still touring or are you back home?

John: I am now wearing my other hat, I’m at the Ondrasik family business, which is a company called Precision Wire Products that is in Commerce, California, that’s been in our family since the 40s and my dad’s been running at the last 30 years. I’ve spent my whole life, even through the heights and rollercoasters of my music career working down here. Our claim to fame is we make the best shopping cart in the world. If you shop at Costco, you use our cart. You being in the Northeast, if you shop at BJ’s, you may very likely use our cart. So, I’m doing my other thing today. The music will be happening tonight when I get home and put that hat back on. But, today I’m calling you from my office here in lovely Commerce, California.

David: That’s great. You’ve written a lot of great songs, “Superman,” “Easy Tonight,” “Chances,” but the one I want to talk to you about is “100 Years.” That’s a song for me that resonated so much for me when I first heard it back when I was 45 so when that verse comes out, “I’m 45 for a moment, the sea is high and I’m heading into a crisis chasing the years of my life,” it was like a grab me by the throat and, and even the previous verse, “I’m 33 for a moment, still the man, but you see, I’m a they, a kid on the way,” that was me too. When I was 33 my daughter had just been born, but just like I said, this song grabbed me. I’m sure that it has grabbed a lot of people. Tell me about your experience with people’s reaction to the song.

John: You know, people talk a lot about “Superman” and certainly we wouldn’t be talking without “Superman,” and there’d be no “100 Years” without “Superman”. But you know, people always ask, “if you could pick one song?” “100 Years” is that song for me for a lot of reasons. One, you can grow up with it and through it, which I’ve done.

You mentioned the 45 verse. I was in my early thirties when I wrote “100 Years” and kind of in that early family stage, and who knew how right I was? I hit that 45, 46 and that midlife crisis came crashing down and I’m still kind of at the tail end of it, I turned 55 last week. But, I always look at my songs as kind of gifts. I kind of figure, even though I write them, when I put them out in the world they don’t become mine. It’s still really rewarding when you hear that song at graduations, weddings, funerals, anniversaries. It’s kind of one of those songs that can stand the test of time and fit every moment.

I think the sentiment of the song is so universal, and it’s kind of your website, right? It’s kind of The Bucket. It’s what I struggled with and what I think so many of us struggle with. People that engage in your website, recognize this innate problem we have as human beings where we were either lost in the past and dwelling on the past, or we’re consumed with the future that we live our lives everywhere but the present. As an ambitious musician, I was always pushing the goal post even when I had the number one song in the country. It was very hard for me to sit back and say, “Oh my God, I have a number one song in the country. I’ve worked my whole life for this. It’s amazing? How wonderful.” No, I was more focusing on how do we parlay this into the next one and how do we move the goal post, so it’s very hard, I think, for us to recognize the moment. I think with “100 Years” so many people relate to it because we struggle with that. It doesn’t mean a moment’s always good. Sometimes it’s terrible, you know? But we have to recognize that too, and everything in between. I think that sentiment of “100 Years” and the fact that whatever age you are, whatever stage of your life you are, you’re in that song, you’re between 15 and a hundred, most of us are in that song so I think that’s why it still resonates.

David: I had read something I forget, where about when you played it for your wife for the first time, she broke down into tears. Was that the moment you knew that it had hit home or did you already know?

John: Well, you never know. It’s subjective and it ends on timing and the zeitgeists of the country and what is happening to music. I think the reason I tell that story about a hundred years, like I’ve come off Superman, which was a big song and it certainly had a meaning with the country after 9/11. As a young songwriter it’s your first hit, and forget just trying to follow that song, but when you have to follow a song that had that kind of width and, and meaning…

David: Right? Because you played that at the concert for New York after 9/11

John: For New York, and such places within various charities. It’s like you can’t follow that, but you also don’t want to be a one hit wonder.  The tendency for many young songwriters it’s to try to regurgitate your first hit. My joke is we all saw Superman two, and that didn’t work. How do you follow Superman, as a young songwriter? Also, frankly, the repercussions for my career were huge. If you have one hit song, you’re blessed, but doesn’t mean you have a career. There’s a lot of songs we know that we’re one hit wonders and that was it. So, I knew the pressure of following that up with a popular song, and I’d spent two years trying to write the follow up to “Superman.” I made a whole record, and in my gut, I knew I didn’t have that song, but when I wrote “100 Years”, I didn’t know if it was going to be a hit or resonate, but I thought it had some of the components of a song that could be popular and touch people because it really was an issue I felt within myself. I knew a lot of these songs I say are post-it notes to myself. “Superman” was a post it note to myself when I was younger, and I was frustrated about not being heard and “100 Years” was post-it note about, “Dude, look around, at least for this moment you’re living your childhood dream. You’re making music. People are actually singing your song back to you. You do a show and someone buys a ticket. You have a wonderful wife who supports you. You have great parents. You’ve got two young kids. It’s like, recognize that, it’s not only always going be this way.” And I was right, it wasn’t always that way. As you grow and things change, so for me when I wrote that I had a sense that this has some of those intangibles and that kind of width that “Superman” has. It also has the melody that I think is very catchy. It suits my voice, and it doesn’t sound like “Superman.” It sounds like a song if you never heard “Superman,” and you heard “100 Years” you’d be like, “Wow, that might be somebody I listened to.” And my wife was a music publisher. She signed me to my first publishing deal. She knew hit songs. She was instrumental in many careers of hit songwriters from Jewel to No Doubt to Incubus, down the line. So that was her job. She knew hit songs and she knew, I think for our family what it would mean to have another on that resonated. So when I first played her “100 Years,” as I said, the joke is, I looked at her in the doorway and tears were running down her face, and I thought to myself, “Well, either I wrote a hit or my career is over.”

David: Yeah. It’s funny. You mentioned all the places “100 Years” is played, whether it’s publicly or privately, graduation things and the shows it’s been on , it’s been on commercials, it was on for Katie Couric’s last day. I don’t know if you know this, but when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, they did a montage with “100 Years.” Some of the time I feel like the meaning has gotten hijacked, at least for me, where it’s like this isn’t about a hundred years, the actual time period, this is about time fleeting. Do you ever feel that way or it’s like fine however anybody interprets it?

John: Well, I think most people get it. What I’ve learned very quickly is the songs, even if you write them their really not yours, and they kind of shouldn’t be. The beautiful thing about music, it’s a unique medium, is that people will take songs they like and apply them to their lives in a way they need them the most. This was illustrated to me when” Superman” was out and popular and I was corresponding with our troops overseas during the first Iraq war. I would get emails from them and they would tell me, “ I listened to your song before I’d go on mission to focus,” or “I listen to your song when I get back from mission to calm myself down,” or “I listen to your song to escape, “ “I listened to you song to remind myself of home.” It’s the same song and people use it in so many different ways. I think with “100 Years” too. I’m never disappointed or miffed if somebody is like, well you didn’t get my point of view because frankly, my point of view really doesn’t matter to anyone but me.

When I listen to “Every Breath You Take,” or I listen to a Joni Mitchell song or a Leonard Cohen song or James Taylor song, it’s what that matters to me. It’s nice that they’re popular and everybody can sing them, but I think for “100 Years,” just because you see the context… Yes, of course, do people use “100 Years” and many life movies for grandpa or at funerals? Well, it is a life, and what are our lives made up of? Our lives are made of moments, hopefully many joyous ones, many triumphs, but of course, many sad ones and challenging ones too, and everything in between. Our lives are made of moments. For me, the song was trying to recognize those moments as you’re living them, don’t let them just be on some video when you’re 92 years old and people are playing your life and you’re like, “Oh. That was pretty great.” Hopefully while it was great, you were sitting there going, this is pretty great.

David: You talk before about you’re moving through your life and as you move through your life when you think about “100 Years” has anything changed about how you feel when you wrote it till now? I’m going to jump in and answer that question first, which is I wish you hadn’t put so much space between 67 and 99, because it seems like it cuts to the end there. It’s like that’s a long period of time, and especially for our audience in terms of going into that, a lot could happen in that space.

John: Well, I have two excuses. The first being, when you’re 33 you’re probably not even imagining what things are like at 65. You can’t even see. My daughter’s turning 19, and she always thinking that the best years are behind her. “I’m 19 and I haven’t accomplished anything.” I’m like, you’re 19. You know? I think the other practical reason is the song was already four minutes and 20 seconds long, and if it was any longer the radio would never play it. So, I had to cut it off at some point.

You’re right. I just jumped from, from 67 to Wayne Gretzky really quickly, just to get to the point. But no you’re right. And you know, my dad is a perfect example of that. As I said, I’m down at the family business. My dad’s 82 years old and he still runs the family business. He works 70 hours a week. He works out an hour and a half a day. Going strong, vital, doing what he’s done his whole life. And why is that? I think that’s because he is doing something he loves and something that he’s been doing, and retirement to him doesn’t exist. He’s going to do this until he can’t do it anymore.

You would hope, my hope (it hasn’t happened yet), but you hope that you’ll work your whole life at a point where you can make decisions about having the life you want that you probably couldn’t do when you’re 25 or 35 or 45 when you’re trying to build security and you have a family and you’ve got to support everybody and do whatever you gotta’ do, emotional transitions. You would hope that this last third of your life is the best because you have more control over it and you’re not obligated to do certain things. Of course, that’s not the way it is for everybody. But, I look at my dad and I see his last 20 years, and they’ve been wonderful and they’ve been something I’d wish everybody would have. So, I think you’re right. I think what you’re doing with The Bucket and focusing people on the bucket list, and don’t wait, (I’ll end my speech in a minute) but we have this tendency no matter what age we are, I’ve done this my whole life, it’s like, well, I’ll do this, then I’ll do what I really want once I get through this job, once I get to this relationship, once I get with my whole music career, it was like, well, I’ll write a musical, you know, later. A lot of times when you have that attitude, that stuff never happens. It takes effort to make a change, to do things.

It takes effort to say, “I’m going to do something I’ve never done that I’ve always wanted.” My wife’s big thing is she wants to see the Northern lights, the Aurora Borealis, that’s on her bucket list. She wants to do that. That’s her dream. And we talked about it every year and we still haven’t done it. You know , but to do it takes effort. You got to book some plane tickets. You got to hope the weather’s right. You got to spend some money. It’s just easier to push that off, but so many things I think about what makes life worth living and we’ve worked hard, we should be doing in that last third, last half of our life because we just put the work in now let’s go get the joy.

David: Yeah. It’s funny that you mentioned that idea because we have the title and idea for an article that we still haven’t written called When I, I Will: How You Talk Yourself Out of Life. So, people listening, we haven’t written that article yet, so if you want to take that title When I, I Will, submit the article and we’d love to read it because it’s something that, like you said, everybody does it. Maybe it’s just not important enough for you to do that, but I think a lot of people end up wishing they had done things that they didn’t do.

John: Well, I really like what you just said, how to talk yourself out of life. I think that sounds like a book. I think you should write that, because I think it’s true and it’s so important and we all do it. It’s kind of easier to push it off. My wife is actually much better at this than I am with her friends, her relationships and doing things, life things and scheduling things for the family and experiences. I’m not very good at that because, when you have a day to day job, there’s always something you got to do that day and kind of the music career, well, there’s always a reason to write a song or always a reason to book a tour. Always. You’re always kind of pushing, pushing. So many of us especially have kind of been ambitious and busy and worked our whole lives. That mindset is hard to change when it’s something that’s all you know how to do is you’re always pushing. You’re always grinding. You’re always looking for the next thing.

It’s kind of like a dysfunctional relationship with yourself. It’s hard to change that mindset when you’ve been doing it your whole life. It took me 20 years to say no, and it sounds like a joke, but literally as an up and coming musician, I was so consumed with succeeding and, and fulfilling my passion and trying to make a living at this, I would do everything anybody asked, any dog and pony show, any promotion event, no matter how embarrassing. Early in my career because of the name Five for Fighting, many promoters thought I was a heavy metal band and they would book me into these gigs with these heavy metal artists and I’d show up with my little keyboard, and I’d be playing “Superman” and people would be like moshing and like throwing things. I’m like I’m taking that gig. Why? Because if I don’t take it, someone else might. Maybe that’s the gig that somebody will see me. So, for my whole life, even when I was very successful, I couldn’t say no, because that’s what made me who I was. And to learn to say, no, I’m not going to do that, I’m going to do something for me, it can be hard to do. So, to your point with what you’re talking about in your website, it’s understandable and I think we need to realize that about ourselves and, once we realize that maybe we can start making decisions to kind of get out of that mindset.

David: You went through it at a younger age. I think a lot of people, a lot of our readers, are going through that in kind of like their second life with retirement, or they’re in a situation and they may not have the issue of not being able to say no, but they don’t know how to get out. One of the things we’re trying to do is publish articles that give examples of how people have done it. And, you’re a great example of that.

John: And also, people are different. My dad is somebody that needs to be working every day, other people are not. Other people are like, you know what, I’ve worked my whole life and now I want to golf every day. That’s what makes them happy. And, they’ve earned that. And, that’s wonderful. There’s no right answer. I think it’s really look into yourself. Go, what’s best for me? What are my kind of resources still have to be wise, you’ve got to be frugal and got to think about the realities of the world, but once you kind of get over that, what is best for me and those around me, and maybe it’s just like, has nothing to do with experiences, maybe it’s relationships, maybe it’s like, okay, I have some time now to develop a relationship with friends. Or maybe I’ve always wanted to play the piano. Maybe I want to write a book, maybe I want to do a triathlon, maybe I want to sleep for a month, maybe I want to watch two months of The Godfather, whatever it is. I think as long as we do it for ourselves and we’re like, wow, you know, we’re experiencing a life in the moment doing what we like for ourselves. I think that’s really what matters.

David: I have a few questions I ask all our guests. The first one is about your Bucket Age. The Bucket Age is something we created. It is you basically take your statistical life expectancy, subtract your current age, and that’s your Bucket Age. So, my statistical life expectancy is about 85. I’m 61, so my bucket age is 24, and that’s about how many years I have left on this planet. We think it’s a good thing to do, so you really kind of pick your head up and say, “Wow, this is how much time I have left?” And you’ll make decisions, based on that in terms of what do you want to get done. What’s your Bucket Age?

John: Well, because I wasn’t exactly sure for the calculation, I actually went on your website and I used your calculator. I was, first of all, very relieved that it wasn’t negative. The good news is my bucket age is 26, which is basically almost a third of my expected lifetime. As I said, I just turned 55. So, you know, I’m doing some crazy rounding here, but I’m going to call it another third of my life because I should have much more downtime than I did in the first two thirds of my life. Yeah. I’m 26 so no excuses on my front. I got plenty of time to do a lot of things, even a second career, if I want one or third career. Yes.

David: What do you think of this perspective of counting your years down instead of up?

John: I love it. I actually wrote a song years ago called “The Man Who Lived Backwards” He was born at 100, and I know that ideas has been used in movies. He’s born at a hundred, but lives backwards until he’s born. I’ve always kind of had this weird fascination with mortality and aging and getting older and the things you learn and the challenges, but you know, until you actually do it, some of the things I figured are coming true and then there’s other things I never imagined that I’m struggling with. I think it’s good. I think what you’re doing is fantastic. I think it’s very healthy. We have a population that’s going continue to age older with the health care and people take care of themselves, so people are going to be living longer. I think we’re seeing my dad’s not an anomaly. We see people who are working longer, which I think is great. I think this whole thought of retire at 55, 60, 62, 66 and that’s it, I think it’s the opposite. I think it’s kind of just the beginning.

You see people getting married to their high school sweethearts in their seventies, all of these kinds of things that life goes on. The last third of your life could be the best third of your life. So, I think what you’re doing is fantastic.

David: Well, thank you. Next question, let’s say hypothetically something happened to you and tomorrow you’re on your deathbed, would you have any regrets other than, of course, that you’re on your deathbed, would there be anything like, I wish I had done this or I wish I had done that and  not stuff that, you know would be impossible to do? Kind of what you were saying before about the Northern lights, like what would be on your list of things that “Damn, I wish I had done that.”

John: Well, I’ve been trying to do a triathlon for two years, but my body keeps breaking down on me. I think it probably wouldn’t be… you think about things like I’d love to see my child get married or I’d love to have a grandchild, all this stuff when you have kids that you’d like to see kind of them experience. I think for me, probably the one regret I have is that I didn’t develop more friend relationships, because I was so kind of consumed with my music and my career and work. Then you have a family and then you have kids, all of that stuff took priority over developing friendships. I certainly have some friends, but I really envy like my wife and some other folks I know have these deep, long root of friendships, that you can really use when things are bad or when your friends have issues and you have these tight-knit relationships that I think really help your life and your life experience and your day to day. One thing I’m trying to focus on in this stage of my life is take some time and you know friendships take work and take time to develop, so that will probably be my one regret that I have. I didn’t allow myself to spend more time developing some deeper-rooted friendships.

David: Well, since you have a about 26 years left, did you say that you have time to do that?

John: Yes. I do. Thanks to you!

David: How has your perspective on songwriting changed as you’ve gotten older?

John: I think because my songs are pretty personal, that they kind of track your life, and it’s not unique to me. If you listen to my early songs, go way back and “Message for Albert,” which is kind of the first record I made before I even had a record deal, they tend to be more self-centered, which is natural and they tend to be a little more trivial, about cars and girls and stuff like that. Even “Superman” is a more selfish song. It’s not easy to be ME, right? So it’s about ME. And, because that’s when you’re young, it’s about you. It’s your kind of your world and you’re finding yourself in the world and you’re having these experiences and you’re not attached to other human beings besides maybe your parents or your siblings. But then, you’ll notice with me and the Two Lights record kind of right when I had kids, the whole thing kind of flipped, so many of the songs were about my kids, like “The Riddle.” So many songs took a larger worldview, like the song title track “Two Lights” were kind of about our troops. You start looking at the world differently. It’s not all about you. It’s about maybe your children in the world they’re going to grow up. Then you start looking at the world, the song “World,” what kind of world do you want? It’s not what kind of world do I want. It’s what kind of world do you want and define we, so the songs get a little more global. And then, as you get older and older, then you get a little more cynical, the hope that it doesn’t reflect itself in the songs. As you get older, for me, I think you get a little more critical of your songs. When you’re young, you just write songs, you put them out there and do with them. When you get older, it’s harder to write a song that you like. I think you get more frustrated, and that’s part of songwriting. For me, if they have a little bit of a more critical eye to my own songs, but I still try to express myself at the stage I’m in and haven’t made a record in a while and, I happen to be writing some songs. Talk about bucket lists, I think it’s probably time to document this stage in my life through songwriting, and hopefully in the next couple of years I’ll do that.

David: One of the things that you’ve talked about the troops a couple of times and you know, in doing my homework for this podcast, I knew a lot of your songs, but what I didn’t know is how much time you donate and of you and your songs to the military.

John: Yeah. As I mentioned, when “Superman” came out, I started corresponding with a lot of our troops and I don’t have military in my family, but I have great appreciation for our soldiers and veterans. As a songwriter, we make our living on freedom of speech and that’s not guaranteed, even though it seems like it’s guaranteed, it’s not. I’ve been able to travel to places where, there’s consequences for freedom of speech. I’ve been to Cuba and I sat there and sang a song on the Cuban shores down in Gitmo. When you do that you realize here in the West we’re blessed and sometimes we take our freedom for granted.

At the end of the day, who protects that and who secures that and who was given to us, it’s our soldiers. I’ve always felt a great debt to them and felt as a songwriter, I can’t drive a tank or fly a plane, but I can write a song that maybe could help their morale or talk about their sacrifice. So I’ve tried to do that, written five or six songs, “Two Lights,” “Freedom Never Cries,” that kind of spoke to their reality. Last year me and Jim Brickman put out a Christmas song for the troops called “Christmas Where You Are,” I’m actually developing a hallmark channel movie based on that song that has a military component. Me and Gary Sinise go out and do shows and say, thank you the best we can. I think that one of the true blessings of having this career is that you can say thank you by lending your song or doing a show or going around the world and playing concerts. For me, that’s been a true highlight just to do that and for our troops. It’s always an honor. Hopefully that’s something else I continue to do the next 26 years of my life.

David: That’s great. That’s good. It’s really impressive what you’ve done. Thank you. I did want to just circle back and talk to you a little bit more about your songs. So this theme of fleeting time seems to show up in a few other of your songs. I found “Riddle” to be about that, the lyrics being about a man who starts off with his heart ran out of summers. So, I assume that means he died. Um, who was that man? Was that a real person?

John: Well, in the song this singer just lost his father. And a lot of people will ask me, did you lose your father? Luckily, I did not, but as a songwriter I take artistic license and try to write songs that have a meaning. To me, “The Riddle,” like so many of us, it’s the search for meaning. Why are we here? All those questions. What are we doing? What’s the purpose of it all? Many people spend their whole lives trying to figure that out or find an answer, whether it’s religion, spirituality, we all kind of look for that. It was written around a time my kids were young and sometimes you find meaning in your children’s faces. People I’ve heard, the face of God is in a child’s face. For me, kind of struggling with these things about recognizing the moment and purpose and all that stuff. I kind of found at least part of my answer and kind of the innocence of youth of my children and whatever’s going on in the world, whatever hardships or whatever challenges you look at your child’s face and it all kind of just evaporates. So maybe that’s our purpose, is it just love? Is it companionship? Is it sharing ourselves with another human being? As I said, many people have different answers, but for me, that kind of venture, what the purpose of the, probably ironically, but probably appropriately, that was the hardest song of mine that are popular songs to write. That song took the longest, took me a year and it’s one of the songs where I still don’t feel I totally got it right, probably because it’s not answerable. Right? It’s a struggle. It’s the confusion that we struggle with our whole lives.

David: Damn John, you didn’t figure out the riddle of life. Geez. You’ve failed.

John: Well, I still have 26 years!

David: That’s true. So what’s, what’s next for you? What are you doing now?

John: You know, who knows? I’m spending a lot of time outside of music kind of working with my dad here in California with the business. As I said, he’s in his eighties and spending more time here and facing some of the challenges that California brings to any business and helping with that and with our employees. My son’s working here, which is great. Spending time with him and musically I’m still doing my thing. We just booked a short Southern California tour with string quartet at the end of May. I’m doing more and more keynotes. I do a lot of keynotes that kind of combine my songs with talking about life. Some of the stuff we’ve talked about today, some of it’s more business oriented, some of that’s more philanthropy oriented, some of it’s more motivational.

David: I know, I did see one of your TedX talks and it was great.

John: Thank you, so doing that and then developing some projects, writing songs, enjoying my children. My daughter’s off to college, so she’s home for a month. We’re enjoying her and kind of living life and trying to figure out moments of joy. I told my wife on new year’s, she asked, “What do you want to do?” I want to have more fun. So, my goal this year is to kind of take up your message and live fully for this year and have great experiences and enjoy my family and enjoy my music and all the blessings that life has brought. One day, I’ll send you that picture of the Northern lights and maybe I’ll write a little article for The Bucket.

David: How about a song too? I might as well ask.

John: 26 years for a moment.

David: I guess I’ll ask if you have any questions for me.

John: No, I think that’s good. As I said, I really kind of enjoyed your mission here. When Julie sent me that note, went on your website, it really reflects I think “100 Years” and I’m glad you picked up on that song and you know, keep in touch. I’ll keep looking at your work and maybe write that book because I think so much of a song is the title, so you’ve got the title.

David: This is something that, believe it or not, I’ve been thinking about for over 30 years. When “100 Years” came out, I was already thinking about The Bucket, and that’s why when we finally did it and I said, “I have to talk to you.” That was like a drive for me because it meant so much to me and it really made me say, “I’ve got to do The Bucket,” even that long ago, enjoying time while you have it, like you said before, we tend not to do that, and the biggest challenge we have is the taboo of death and mortality. People just run. They run the other way. We presented to a sponsor and they asked us about the tagline, “live fully die well”, and they said, “ We are you concerned about the die well part.” I said, “Well, we talked a lot about it, but we feel that the die well is the edge. The die well is what we’ll get talked about.” They totally agreed. You need that edge. Otherwise we’re a lifestyle magazine.

John: Exactly. You’re right. I looked at it too and it made me a little uncomfortable, which it should because I want to think about dying, but as you said, live fully is basically everybody’s motto on everything, so that just makes you kind of generic and part of the pack, but the die well thing, that’s frankly why I did this call with you because you know that’s interesting to me and it makes me a little uncomfortable. But because it makes me uncomfortable, it may change my behavior, which is the whole purpose of this whole thing.

David: I really appreciate your time and I look forward to following up with you.

John: Yeah, my pleasure. Take care.

David: All right. You too.

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