HE SAYS:

I was going to be creative and write about some controversial topic or, perhaps, delve into a subject that could be of great interest to others; however, I am not able to summon any unique or novel ideas as it seems that I am having what amounts to just another day in my life.

The reality of life is that there are peaks of inspiration and excitement and valleys of disappointments and hardship with vast plateaus of just ordinary living in between.   We tend to accentuate the extremes and a lot of what we remember and relate to other people are the good and bad times in our lives; however, it is the mundane that we deal with on a daily basis.

In the scheme of things, one day is much like the next in our lives and in some ways it would be quite difficult if we did not have these long periods of sameness to give us a reason to place greater importance on the highs and lows that mark the memorable events in our lives.   Most of the time, we live out a daily routine that has but very small variations and each day tends to blend into the next with the exception of an occasional milestone that helps breaks up the monotony.  These milestones can take the form of an exciting trip that we plan and look forward to, the festivities of a holiday with our family, or a momentary distraction such as an awesome sunset that serves to remind us of the joy in just being alive.

There are very few, if any, people in this world, regardless of how exciting and glamorous their lives might seem to the outside observer, that do not also have ordinary lives with their own mundane routines.  It would be impossible for anyone to sustain a lifetime full of only highs and lows and even if they could these constant extremes would, in fact, become their routine from which they would seek the ordinary and mundane for relief.

It turns out that the ordinary and mundane are not bad, just the opposite, we need the consistency and reliability of the routines that we have come to depend on and that we feel comfortable with so that we can find greater pleasure in or be better able to endure the extraordinary things that happen in our lives.

   

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

HE SAYS:

When we watch a foot race between relatively equally matched athletes, we understand that they all start the race at the same starting line; however, by the end of the race there usually is one winner, one who comes in last and the rest finish somewhere in between.  We accept this as the natural order of things and we give our accolades to the winner for running a good race and even though we may give credit to the last place finisher for his effort we also acknowledge that he fell short and lost.

Life is a little like that race.   I am all for the proposition that we are all created equal; however, in the race of life, there will be those who finish far ahead of the others with most of us being somewhere in the middle.  Regardless of how society measures success, whether it is based on the accumulation of wealth, acquiring knowledge, the amount of your good deeds, the fulfillment you achieve in your life, or simply the responsibilities you assume for your family, in the race of life, some people have more success than others.

Even as we give our allegiance to equality, we also must embrace the fact that we all do not finish the race of life equally.   Some of us finish strong, some of us barely finish at all, and the rest of us fall somewhere in the middle.   Just as in that foot race, I believe that those people who finish strong deserve our praise and admiration and those that did not run a good race should accept the consequences of having fallen short.

Obviously, I understand that life is more complicated than a simple foot race and that there are many factors, some of which are beyond our control, which could affect our ability to run a good race so to speak.   However, on the other hand, we must also recognize that much of what determines how we finish in the race of life is based on our efforts, our drive, our attitudes and many other factors over which we do have control.

So, on your mark, get set, go!

On Monday, Joe reveals a unique phase in his life that turned out to be of help to him in “My Life Was An Open Book”.

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HE SAYS:

One day I looked into the mirror and saw a much older man staring back at me.   Who could he be?  Certainly not me as I don’t feel as old as that man looked.   Were my eyes playing tricks on me?   Was there something wrong with the mirror?   Could the transformation have happened overnight since I don’t remember that many years having gone by from when I looked young?    Maybe it was all a dream and things will be back to normal the next time I look in the mirror?

When I was a young child, I thought it would be the greatest thing to be able to go to bed as late as I wanted.   However, I now think that it is the greatest thing to go to bed as early as I want to.  I still make some concessions to being an adult and try to stay up until, at least, 10PM unless I can come up with a good excuse to go to bed earlier.   On those occasions when I am up past 10PM and actually out in public, I am amazed at how many other mature adults are also out and active.  Is it like this every night or did they all stay up past their bed time just to come out to join me?

I don’t remember always having aches and pains or feeling so sore when I get up in the morning.   Did I have a fight or play some kind of contact sport overnight in my sleep?   Did someone sneak into my house and repeatedly hit my knees without waking me up?   Did I always stumble out of bed and struggle to walk to the bathroom in the morning?  It can’t be that my body is changing and is not as resilient as it once was?

When did everyone become younger then I am?   It used to be that just about everyone I met and, particularly, professionals like doctors, dentists, and lawyers were all older than me.  Now, I meet adults and professional people all the time who were born after I had already finished college.  Why are people calling me sir and offering me senior discounts?   It can’t be that I am getting older?

It seems that every time I look into the mirror I always have to ask myself the same question.   What happened?

On Monday, Joe reveals some simple lessons he learned as a child in “Simple Lessons”.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

SHE SAYS:

Within a few days of each other, I attended the wake and funeral of a ninety one year old woman and the wake of a twenty four year old woman.  There is an obvious difference between these two situations and that difference made me think about mortality and putting life in perspective.

During the eulogy for the ninety one year old woman, you could not help but admire this woman for the exemplary life she led.  It was clear how much she touched and influenced the lives of not only her children and grandchildren with wisdom and kindness, but of the many people she helped during her career and her life.  This woman was given the opportunity to live a long, full life and was a wonderful role model to everyone around her.  She enjoyed a rich and rewarding life and she will still be missed by the many people who will cherish their memory of her.

In sharp contrast, the twenty four year old woman was at the threshold of her life when it tragically ended.  Although she touched many lives in her short time here, her family will never experience the milestones she might have enjoyed if she had lived a long life.  They will never see how she could have lived to her full potential.  This young woman was not given that opportunity and no one will ever know why.  In the eyes of her family and friends, she will be forever twenty four and will also be missed by many people.

The grieving in each situation was so very different.

This experience made me focus on my own life. It not only made me think about my own mortality but it made me think about how I live my life and whether or not I have made a positive impact in my little part of this world and the lives around me.  In thinking about my own mortality and my family I am reminded that all life must be enjoyed and cherished because it is so fragile.

On Monday, Joe provides information on Living Wills and Health Care Proxies in “Dying With Dignity”.

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