Life: Was That It?

By Tardsie

A friend of mine died tragically this weekend. He was far too young. Has there ever been an instance of someone who died too old?

***

For what is it all but being hatched,

And running about the yard,

To the day of the block?

Save that a man has an angel’s brain,

And sees the ax from the first!

Edgar Lee Masters

Spoon River Anthology

***

The Pursuit of Happiness

You can’t chase down happiness like a hunted animal. While you might pursue–and catch–a great many other things, you’ll have to find happiness within yourself. Love yourself and let others love you. Ain’t no other way, folks.

***

Do It Right

If you could be anyone in the world at any time, who would it be? By ‘be,’ we don’t mean that you’d simply have the person’s appearance, property or talents, but that you would actually be that person. Who would you choose?

If it’s anyone other than the person you look at in the mirror every morning, you’re doing something wrong.

***

Your Problems

Next time you’re feeling blue, take a moment to think about a kid in the Horn of Africa.

Do you imagine he’s concerned about how much it will cost to fix that weird noise the car is making, or do you think he’s a little more worried about where he’s going to find food to put in his belly and maybe live for another day?

***

Goodbye

Tell the people who matter that you love them, and don’t walk away angry. Among my most priceless possessions is the knowledge that the last words I ever spoke to my mother were ‘I love you too.’

***

Be Happy

Be happy.

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28 Responses to Life: Was That It?

  1. crubin says:

    I enjoyed this deviation from PT’s norm. So much truth in a short amount of space. Well done.

    • Smaktakula says:

      Thanks, Carrie. This was sort of a last minute post. I was intending to publish a new ‘True-Ass Tale’ (which you’ll probably see in the next couple days), but my buddy’s wasteful, needless death has been bugging me.

      I find myself getting angry at people in the first world who have the temerity to be miserable. I’m not talking about people with depression, chemical imbalance or other mental health issues, but ‘mentally healthy’ (in quotes ’cause there ain’t a machine out there which runs perfectly) folks who have the luxury to be unhappy.
      And somehow we’ve gotten this idea that happiness or success or whatever is a destination–a place you can get to. How often do you hear “If only I had X, I’d be happy.’ No, you wouldn’t. There is nothing in this world that can MAKE you happy.
      You may have read Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning,’ (if you haven’t, I URGE you to pick it up, it’s a quick read). Frankl developed his philosophy while as a ‘guest’ of the Germans during WWII. He found purpose and meaning in one of the most degrading environments ever dreamed by a fevered brain. Man is not defined by his circumstance.

      There are myriad sorrows in this life, but even more joys. If the joys didn’t outweigh the sorrows, what would be the purpose of living?

      • crubin says:

        I’m making a trip to Barnes & Nobles tomorrow night (for a travel book on Vegas :) ), and I’ll look for that book. I agree–listening to folks complain about their life’s circumstances when in reality they have it good is a real drag. Or, when someone is unhappy and has the power to change it, but doesn’t. I joke on my blog about being cynical and a glass half-empty person, but I make it a point every day to remind myself of how lucky I am–to have a home, food for my belly, two legs to exercise on, a country where I don’t have to worry about landmines or bombs–the list is endless.

        Sorry about your friend, by the way.

      • Smaktakula says:

        Thanks. He was a bright, funny, sweet man–but not one I ever saw getting old. So sad.

        On a happier note–have fun in Vegas. For a travel book, might I suggest D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover? Vegas, as you’re about to discover, is a painted whore. When you wake up after your first night there, look out upon the daylight city from your hotel window. You’ll see what I’m talking about.

        Still, it’s fun to go just about anywhere. And going with your boy is such a great idea. Unlike a toy or computer or other expensive item, this is something you guys will have for the rest of your lives–it can never be taken away, and it will live in your boy long after you are gone, and will take on a special poignancy. Money well-spent!

      • crubin says:

        That’s my hope. I want to do it now before he’s a surly teenager and doesn’t want to be seen in public with me. And maybe someday, when he’s defied the odds to become the next David Copperfield (his wish for himself, not my parental projections), he’ll remember I weathered the “painted whore” so he could see the finest magicians live. That is if the temperature hasn’t melted them.

      • Andrea says:

        You’re such a fantastic mom, Carrie. And Smak, so sorry for your loss :( I lost my sister when she was 39 and it too was senseless but inevitable. Makes one very frustrated.

      • It’s interesting you mention “happiness.” There’s a car commercial on TV that always bothers me. It sounds stupid, but it’s something to the effect of “We believe no matter how good something is, it can always be better.” While it can be said that this is an optimistic/perfectionist’s view of things, I rather think it sounds like a bunch of people who will never be happy with what they have because they are always looking for something “better.”

  2. Sorry for the loss of your friend, Smak.

  3. Archon's Den says:

    My condolences! Usually, nobody we know personally dies too late, but, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein….waaaay not soon enough.

  4. mpreeti says:

    Heh Smak, my condolences. But your point about the crib-crib-crib is not restricted to the developed world, that’s a global problem except perhaps sub-saharan Africa or parts of the M.East. I have a far better life than what I used to have but I still find myself complaining ‘why me, woe is me’ yadiyadiyadiyah before making a conscious pullback. Realised the only way out is Living in the Now and being consciously conscious of every moment. Does that make sense?!

    • Smaktakula says:

      It does. To some degree it’s in our nature to be dissatisfied. Within limits, this is an advantage, and keeps us striving. But it can serve as a tremendous hindrance, too, if we’re not satisfied with the perfectly wonderful lives we have.

  5. El Guapo says:

    Can’t disagree with anything you posted here.
    I’m sorry your friend passed away young, and glad you got a chance to know him.

    • Smaktakula says:

      Thanks, Guap. He was a special guy. I was discussing it with a friend the other night, and while I’ve always found the phrase “You just weren’t made for this world” to be cloyingly cliche, I’ve found I’ve had to rethink it in the wake of my friend’s death.

  6. I have so much fun and laughter when I come over here, but sadly, another Russel Ray camping trip comes to an end………………..

  7. Smaktakula says:

    Reblogged this on Promethean Times and commented:

    Lost another friend yesterday. Thought it was time for a reblog. Remember, don’t be stingy with your love and affection. Life is short.

  8. Tried to come up with something worth saying here, other than sorry for your loss, but for some reason, death always leaves me flummoxed. I never know what to say. So, forgive me for simply saying, sorry for your loss, man.
    Seriously.

  9. Smaktakula, You are someone who I’ve grown to think of as a friend and I’m sorry for your loss. (you are in my thoughts)

    • Smaktakula says:

      Thanks so much, Chicago Blanca! It’s funny how when someone you care for dies too young, you can be surrounded by people who love you and still feel alone. A few of Joe’s (Joe is my friend who just died) buddies will be getting together in LA next week. I’ll get a chance to see some guys I haven’t seen in years (and some I’ve seen within the last two months). We all just need to see each other.

  10. My condolences, Smak. And thank you for such enlightenment.

  11. Smak I’m so sorry about your friend.

  12. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend, Smak. I’ve had friends who have passed in the same way- they lived fast and died young. One was 40 years old and died because she was riding a motorcycle without a helmet and got into a head-on collision with a truck. One committed suicide- by hanging no less- when she was 23. I had a few friends and acquaintances from high school who died from od’ing on drugs.

    It makes you wonder, but it also reminds you tempus fugit (time flies) and that the pursuit of being comfortable and happy in your own skin is worthwhile. Yes, I’ve had my own struggles with depression and anxiety and cynicism, but when all is said and done, it’s better to come to the conclusion that life is good. After all, every single one of us is only a slight electrical spark away from death. And if I’m dead, how can I watch (the BBC version, with Jeremy Clarkson, the good one) Top Gear? Take care of yourself, and cherish life.

  13. jmmcdowell says:

    I’m sorry about the loss of your friend, Smak. I lost two friends to insidious diseases. One could have had a longer, more normal life if she would have taken better care of herself. The other did everything right but still ended up with a fatal brain tumor. Sometimes the choices we make in life lead to the ultimate cost, and sometimes Death will have Its way no matter what we do.

    We should remember the good times fondly and also be thankful that Life treats many of us far better than we often realize.

  14. A former colleague’s 36-year-old husband was killed in the twin towers on 9/11. They were married for four years and they had two daughters, one age two and the other, 10 months. When I think of someone that got screwed in the amount of life department, I think of him.

    Sorry for your loss Smak.

  15. renxkyoko says:

    I knew 3 people who died of leukemia, ages 17, 20 and 22. They were full of hope and fought… and lost to the disease.

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