500 More Years

If you could take a pill that would let you live 500 more years, would you take it?

That was one of the questions the documentary, How to Live Forever, posed to people of many ages. Some young, perhaps 17-20 years old, some as old as 114!

I think my dad would have said yes, though I’m not sure he would have had a good reason why. Though Dad sent mixed signals with his actions during his fight with cancer, when you talked to him he was getting better. “Strong like bull,” he would say. He always insisted the cancer was shrinking. I later learned from my aunt, who spoke directly with the oncologist, that the chemo wasn’t doing anything to the cancer almost a year before he died. Yet the cancer and the chemo continued to do plenty to my dad, regardless of his statements…

Would he have chosen to live 500 years longer than his 53-years? I’m almost positive he would have said yes.

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Dad (late 1980’s or early 1990’s?)

Would I? Hell no. Admittedly, part of me wants to say yes. I’d love to think that I would make such good use of that time.

Think of all of the things I could learn!
Think of how I could use that knowledge!

But a larger part of me says that life is special. That part of me says life is only special, because we get a limited amount of time. If we had 500 years, couldn’t we just travel to that exotic destination we’ve always dreamed of tomorrow? Couldn’t we jump out of that plane next month? Wouldn’t we save that trip to India for our 300th birthday? That book we wanted to write will wait until after the great-great-great-grandkids have been raised, right? Wouldn’t we wait until circumstances were perfect to strive for our dreams? After all, we’re only 250. We have all of the time in the world!

As Leonard Bernstein put it: “To achieve great things: we need two things: a plan, and not quite enough time.”

Life is special. But it’s only special when we live in the moment. It’s only special when we realize that each moment is a miracle and a blessing. There are some who have done so much with so few years, and there are some who do so little with many years.

How old are you?
What have you done?
What will you do?

Better questions: What have I done? What will I do?

I think I know the answer to “what have I done,” but even with that I don’t know if others agree with what I consider to be important. (Perhaps a post for another day.)

What will I do? I don’t feel like I have such a good handle on that answer.

I do know that in the past 5 or so years of my life that I’ve been changing my life for the better. I know that I appreciate more little things in life: the light upon the water, watching the mullet jumping, seeing the bougainvillea bloom, the smell of jasmine during my runs, watching my neighbor fish, watching my dog roll on the floor, playing with my cat on my bed, laughing with my friends, crying with my friends… I know that I enjoy creating via writing, painting, making jewelry, drawing, making music… I know that I spend more time being positive instead of negative. Tearing people down carries little interest for me, and I want to help build people up instead. I want to contribute to solving the problems I see in the world, instead of just complaining about them. I want to do healthy things for the sake of being healthy, not so I can fit into society’s standard of beauty.

On the one hand, it makes me sad to think that I wasn’t doing those things for almost 30 years of my life. On the other, I’m glad I’ve started. If I die tomorrow, it would be with few regrets. If I had died 10 years ago, I would have done so with a huge list of regrets.

I also know that by changing my life for the better, I’m affecting the world in bigger and better ways. Ultimately, I don’t really care how long I live, as long as I live a full life. I want my life to be as full as Great-Grandma Tillie, who died at the age of 100 back in 2010. She loved music and polkaed and bowled and rode motorcycles well after the age of 80. She raised five children, one of which died before her. Her husband died in 1975 (three years before I was born!), and she never remarried. But, she had boyfriends well into the latter years of her life…. Smile

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Me and Great-grandma Tillie (December 2009-her 100th B-day party)

I want to travel everywhere, like Grandpa Tom (GPT) did, who died at the age of 77 back in 2010. I hope my luck with love turns out to be better than his though (three divorces… Sad smile).

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Me and GPT (1996-high school graduation)

How do you live forever? I think it’s by living daringly. Each day. You live forever by being vulnerable, connecting, and making a difference your life and in the lives around you. When people do something to support you in your life and dreams, you pay it back by living a happy, healthy, true life. Grandma Tillie, GPT, and Dad made huge differences in my life, and in many instances supported me. I’m trying  to pay it forward by sharing and spreading that happiness and my truth with everyone I know. I’ve been getting a lot of feedback recently saying that modus operandi is working for me…

Will I live forever? Not literally. But I hope that by living my life in the truest way possible, that others will benefit from my story, both as it’s been written and as I continue to write it.

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