Sunday, January 16, 2011

You can't take what with you?

2010 was a strange year for me. One of my best friends was diagnosed with brain cancer at the tender age of 38. I had quite a few financial setbacks and had to relearn how to live on a good bit less money. Once the initial panic and resistance subsided, the less money thing turned out to have a Zen-like quality to it.

I started to look at how much work I put into having stuff I didn't even need or use. Unread books, unwatched movies, duplicate clothing, fleeting hobbies, custom t-shirts, knives, and decals. When I look at my overflowing bookshelves and accept that I won't reread ninety percent of my books, that I had to work to earn money to buy instead of getting free from the library, it gives me a hollow feeling.

My friend with cancer, Jimmy, has two young daughters. He doesn't care about power, prestige, bank accounts, or Lamborghinis. He wants another day with his children. He wants the exhilaration of a good bike ride. He wants the mastery of a near perfect volleyball serve. He wants to play the guitar and sing poorly with good friends.

You can't take it with you isn't talking about possessions. Its talking about life. Life today. Precious time fleeting by, gone in the blink of the mind's eye.

I think about the good, hardworking folks who own some of the local Asian food markets and restaurants who work seven days a week to own Mercedes and Lexuses. They drive to and from work and the homes that they sleep at for those few hours a day that they aren't working and I wonder why.

When that final curtain closes, will you wish you could have made another million dollars, played another hour of Farmville on your PC, or will you discover what was truly important only after you have lost it forever?

I know that I can't take joy and happiness with me when I go, but I can leave them behind. I can have the clarity and peace of mind that comes from knowing I lived and I loved. There might never have been enough days, but I lived the ones I had.

Time is a wastin'.

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