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On New Year's Eve, when I was 21, I had a chat with a friend I'll call Vicky. "The last three months sucked," Vicky said. "I had ten pounds to lose, so I didn't let myself leave my room, except to go to class, until I hit my goal weight." She lifted her Champagne. "This is the year I can really start living!" Two days later, Vicky was killed in a traffic accident.

I'm sorry if that story just harshed your mellow. It's been on my mind for decades. Since Vicky's death, I've never been able to stop asking, How would I spend the next three months if I knew they were my last? Sitting in a dorm room waiting for my thighs to shrink has never made the list.

Our culture loves the phrase "It's never too late." We want to believe we can toss every adventure onto our bucket lists and accomplish them all. But life is brief. To fill it with the things worth experiencing, we must empty it of pretty much everything else. In other words, there's a lot we don't have time for. And after decades of helping people figure out how to fill their remaining years, I hereby present five things for which it truly is too late.