jeudi, mars 29, 2007

this i believe: old age is not guaranteed

My friend Karl wrote this as his submission to NPR's "This I Believe." I heard him read it today at Toastmasters and was blown away. I hope it is accepted.
I believe that old age is not guaranteed.

Gray hair, retirement, and 4 o'clock dinners are a privilege, not a birthright.
I don't believe I have 80 years to make my dreams come true. I may only have 80 more days. I may have less.

See, I believe I will die.

I don't welcome it, but I realize the rules of the game. I accept the fact that I'll run out of time before I run out of life to live. I live each day believing today is a blessing, and tomorrow's a gift.

Believing in death doesn't shorten my life. It extends it because it helps me cherish
yesterday and the day before.

Fitting my core belief into so few words is intense
I hope moving forward my ideas make sense

And that they grip you like tires that provide traction
and move you and prompt you to take some action.

This speech is like life, you don't have enough time
to strengthen my message, I've decided to rhyme.

Each word pulls more meaning, when nested in verse.
Here's my main point in this speech, there's nothing worse

then falling so deep in your routine that you're numb.
Taking blessings for granted is foolish and dumb.

They may be sunsets, or sunrises, your family or friends,
when they've moved on you've missed them and can't make amends.

So click off the tv, and move past the drama
call and connect with your dad or your mama.

We're surrounded by miracles both large and small
a life filled with meaning appreciates them all.

Go climb a mountain, or maybe just walk in the park.
Or drink tequila with your best friends til morning light replaces the dark.

See there aren't guarantees, you don't get a next chance.
Is your life a toe tapper, or are you living a dance?

What's your life's soundtrack? is it jazz or hip hop?
Are you living to muzak, or do you make your life rock?

You're the one who knows best, you're the player on stage
Have you made peace with the bad times, or are you carrying your rage?

We all have regrets and wish there were things we could undo
But forgive yourself and realize they're what made you, YOU.

Today please breathe in the best smells, and take care of yourself
your best chance for long life is to practice good health.

Tomorrow's coming up soon, yesterday's already gone.
and we can all try and stop it, but times keep moving on.

It's time to get out the want ads, or pull out the map
finally book that vacation or tell the boss "no more crap."

Carpe diem's the motto I implore you to seize
for your days here are precious. This, I believe.

2 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

is this the reason why i, the guy with a spine full of bone tumors, am buying an impractical, overpriced, notoriously unreliable but ever so sexy italian motorcycle and attempting to ride it solo 1500 miles up the entire west coast of the united states?

yup :)

see you soon,
scott :)

ps - dr. seuss' 'oh, the places you'll go!' is a much better read at 37 than it was at 7.

Pain is necessary. Misery is optional.

Jason a dit…

Great blog, Hap. It made me look up one of my favorite Buddhist parables, and I'm copying someone's commentary on it below:

A final, frightening fact is that it is not just our cherished "I" that changes and dies. Everything and everyone on earth, the earth itself and the universe that contains it, will change and pass away. You will lose your mother and father, maybe your spouse, sister and closest friend. You may lose your job, your house, your savings. The Buddha said that clinging to anything causes suffering.

Being aware of and accepting that everything changes -- even the things and people we love most -- can actually be a source of joy, helping us to appreciate in every moment the fragile beauty and value of all things. Buddhist psychotherapist Mark Epstein, author of Thoughts without a Thinker, recalls Thai Buddhist teacher Ajahn Chah (also spelled Achaan Chaa, Achaan Chuan) describing the joys of accepting change:

You see glass? For me, this it is already broken. I enjoy it. I drink out of it. It holds my water admirably, sometimes even reflecting the sun in beautiful patterns. But when the wind knocks it over or my elbow brushes it off the table and it shatters, I say 'Of course.' When I understand that this glass was already broken, every moment with it is precious.

When we accept that everything animate and inanimate is "already broken," a physical disability -- even a terminal illness -- looses its abnormality. Actually, anything that is not broken, not "disabled," is really abnormal.

When I was in graduate school our lab director died in the lab one morning. We had left the lab to attend class and he suffered an aneurysm before lunch. He was 36,with a wife and 5 year old daughter, and loved by everyone at school. I wondered what he said to his family before leaving for work. What were my last words to him? As a small gesture, I dedicated the lab to our deceased director, adding to the front page of our web site, "If you knew that tomorrow someone you loved would be gone forever, what would you tell them today? Why are you waiting?"

What is the last thing you told your friends?