“Seventy-five years. That’s how much time you get if you’re lucky. Seventy-five years. Seventy-five Winters. Seventy-five Springtimes. Seventy-five Summers. And Seventy-five Autumns. When you look at it like that, it’s not a lot of time, is it? Don’t waste them. Get your head out of the rat race and forget about the superficial things that pre-occupy your existence and get back to what’s important now. Right Now. This very second. And I’m not saying, drop everything and let the world come to a grinding halt. I’m saying that you could become a seeker. You could be loving more. You could be taking some chances. You could be living more. You could be spending more time with your family. You could be getting in touch with the part of you that lives instead of fears; the part of you that loves instead of hates; the part of you that recognizes the humanity in all of us. And I tell you, That’s where you’re fortunate.” Eddie Murphy – Holy Man
*My dad only had 73 years, 2 months, and 8 days.
My friend recently completed a challenge she assigned to herself, which was to blog each day of August. Me, being out of practice as of late, scoffed at the idea for myself, because I haven’t felt particularly inspired. Writer’s block is not a sufficient enough description for the complete void of material and/or lack of desire to share much of anything.
However, I caught up on some reading over this past long weekend, and I realized there’s plenty that I want to say, I’m just not super comfortable with saying all of it, because it means facing what scares me. I’ve always joked about aging, but now I have been thinking more and more about something scarier – making the most of my life, because, you know…death.
I wouldn’t say I’m unhealthily laser-focused on the topic, but it’s definitely been the catalyst for making sure I get myself together financially and health-wise (the latter being an annoying ongoing struggle – but overall doing ok on both fronts).
On the other hand, I’m not sure anyone wants to read about death or be continually reminded of their mortality, and I realize that’s kind of the most prominent topic that comes to mind when/if I write, with good reason. It is something each of us will experience, but it’s uncomfortable and can be a downer.
After all –
“This “I could be dead” perspective isn’t a sentimental thinking exercise. I think it’s a more honest view of our ever-tentative situation, one that respects the impersonal, flippant way in which fate handles our lives. The shooting just forced me to see my day in that way, but a random crime is only one of many possible (and still possible) endings. There are always speeding cars, rare diseases, gas explosions, and treacherous stairwells. And none of these events, when they do happen, are negotiable.
The universe is not at all sentimental—aliveness is always going to be an arbitrary status that can be revoked at any time. No recourse, no due process.”
Watching my healthy father quickly deteriorate and leave this world within 2 months instilled great fear inside of me. Paired with heartbreaks I’ve experienced – coincidentally in which the relationships shifted suddenly and dramatically, changing my life/periphery in a short period of time – and my inner voice that has my fears on a repeat loop (and exhaustively searches for connections) tells me grief like this is a pattern in my life, and I’m right to be afraid for it to happen again. I can logically roll my eyes and brush that off – plus losing my father was much worse than any heartache I’ve ever had, like brand new category – but the thought is pretty persistent. I think about my own death sometimes, yes, but more so of my loved ones. I realized with his passing that time is definitely borrowed with my mother – do I have even ten years more to share with her? Will she be there to see my son graduate high school in 7 years? But wait – what if my son died? Easily the one thing I love most in this world, and my only child to boot. There is a myth I’ve heard that the Greek gods would get jealous if a mortal loved and revered anything too much outside of them, and would retaliate by taking that thing away. Like.I.said. My brain is EXHAUSTING sometimes.
So, in summary, relationships and death are now one and the same as far as my personal fears go. Woot woot!
So now that I’ve got you all fired up after that doozy, let’s talk about the good part of this post.
Gratitude, more gratitude, and plans.
So damn true. I’m so, so grateful for all the people I do have, and feel like I have slowed down a bit to take the time to appreciate them more than I used to. I am more intent on being present and living in the moment. And, of course – planning for the future.
While this article is decidedly emotion-free and more work-focused, I think it’s a good blueprint for making any kind of plan for your life. We have to think ahead, and not just for tomorrow.
What are you doing to plan for your future – and who/what are you grateful for right now?
with love + rosé,
p.s. – these are just good reads about losing a parent that I found helpful.
The Beginners Guide to Losing Your Parent – especially these two: