Watch Out for the Bus

I had a meeting yesterday with a friend and colleague whose mom recently died at the relatively young age of 64. As we were talking he also shared that his dad had suffered a debilitating stroke just six weeks after he retired. Coincidentally, on my way into the meeting my mom forwarded me a poem from a teenage girl with terminal cancer. Unrelated to any of the above, a few weeks ago my dad had to be airlifted to the hospital to address a fast-developing case of internal bleeding (he’s OK now).

Maybe it’s because I turn 40 this year, or because my kids are growing up so fast, but I’ve been reflecting more than usual on how little time we have to pursue our dreams and spend time with the people we love. As a result of many long conversations on the subject over many years, a close childhood friend and I share a shorthand phrase for this: “Watch out for the bus”. In longhand, the rough translation is this: death is certain, the timing of death is uncertain, so try hard to live your life in such a way that, whenever the bus hits you, you can be at peace with the choices you’ve made.

I sometimes lose track of this idea in the daily press of work, family and current events, but it’s never far out of mind. The convergence of events described above was a welcome reminder.


  1. Bill

    Seven years ago we were living in Minneapolis, we moved there for a IT consulting job I had at the time.

    While we were there my wife had a blood clot on her brain 6 weeks in to the pregnancy of our 2nd child. The clot burst and she had emergency Nuro surgery and spent 6 of the next 8 weeks in the hospital, 10 days of which she was in ICU. As luck would have it her and Kyle are fine.

    Sitting in the ICU I realized the bus could come at any time.

    We re-prioritized some things in our life and moved back to the PNW the next year.

  2. Chris DeVore

    Thanks for the comment, Bill. Your story is a lot closer to the edge than my recent experience, and I’m very glad to hear it all turned out for the best.

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