Tuesday, November 8, 2011

44 and No More

Heavy D died today. He was one of the rappers that helped color my college years. When I read that he had been found dead in his Beverly Hills home, it struck me. It struck me because one of my favorite rappers from back in the day had passed. And, it struck me because, at 44, he was just one year older than me.

We are all guaranteed one thing. Just as we came in this world, we will leave it. Wealthy or poor, good, bad or indifferent, we will all die. However, as much as we love and cling to life, none of us want to face our mortality. It’s the ultimate elephant in the room. Seeing someone your own age brings it home in a way that is all too real.

I remember when my mom died; it was another jarring jolt of mortality. She was 44 too. The interesting thing is none of my friends wanted to talk to me about it. For one, they didn’t know what to say (and there really wasn't anything they could have said). Secondly, I realized that talking about my mother’s passing made them think about their own mother’s mortality, and no teenager wants to confront that inevitability.

But I have learned to take comfort in one truth. Each day is precious and should not be taken lightly or for granted. Every day I try to do three things: laugh, love and savor.

Whether I’m laughing at myself, my dog, a funny story or a sit-com, I find most things go better with a little levity. Laughter helps me to keep things in perspective and from taking myself too seriously.

I try to show love every day, if not directly through words, through my actions. Calling my dad, listening to a friend vent or helping another friend with car trouble, these are the things that show the people in my life that they are loved and appreciated by me.

Savoring is essential. Most mornings or nights when I walk Marty, I have the opportunity to gaze at a star-filled sky or see a sunrise. I might revel in a favorite dessert or a good glass of wine. While I was on vacation a few months ago, I walked leisurely on the beach enjoying the sand between my toes and the waves splashing against my legs.

Mortality for me doesn’t mean dreading death, it means cherishing life all that much more. I don’t know how long I’ll be here but I plan on making the most of it while I am.

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