I got the news very recently that a cousin of mine in the UK had passed away. Marina was the daughter of one of my father’s sisters, she was about 20 years older than me and more in my father’s generation than mine.
Marina was an accountant and had fallen for a work colleague. He turned out to be a married man with children. When she fell pregnant, he gave her the choice: the baby, or him.
She chose the baby. Victor is Marina’s only child. He’s about 23 or 24 now. He’s very intelligent and good looking, and his future is bright, thanks to the years Marina struggled to raise him as a single parent. She had a hard life, having to survive on Social Security payments as a single Mum. Some days they went without food so she could buy Victor his school uniform or shoes. Later on she worked as a cab driver to make ends meet, so Victor could go to college.
Marina was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago, and despite having a mastectomy and undergoing chemotherapy and a period of remission, she was told about 2 months ago to put her affairs into order, as her treatment was no longer effective.
Marina passed away on the 13th of July 2016. RIP.
Nobody can tell how their lives will pan out, even with the most meticulous forward planning. Life will throw you a few spanners along the way. Some people are fortunate enough to live relatively uneventful lives, while others struggle their whole lives to put food on the table for their families.
It’s no one’s fault, it’s not Fate or Destiny that dictates that this person lives a life full of luxury while another lives in abject poverty. Like I said, best laid plans and all that.
The lesson to be learnt here is that although we humans like to think in terms of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, centuries and millenia, Life is undeniably extremely short in the grand scheme of things. Blink, and it’s over.
So, why do we insist on spending our formative years and our retirement years in happiness, but also to waste the best part of our lives, the 30-50 years of our prime, working in jobs that we hate and have to drag ourselves to every day, just because it pays the bills?
Life is more than working, paying the bills and dying. Life is to be Lived. You haven’t really lived if you haven’t tried something new, learnt something new, seen something with fresh eyes, experienced all the joys Life has to offer. You’re merely existing.
It goes without saying that a little suffering is also good for the Soul, because it enables us to open our eyes to see how the other half lives. You can’t really understand what someone is going through unless you’ve experienced it as well. You don’t really have a clue, really.
So, the next time someone pooh-poohs your creative idea, shoots you down or tries to dissuade you from listening to your own inner voice, or tells you to just stick to the programme and follow the instructions without deviation, ask yourself if by conforming to tradition you’re actually denying future generations improvements in your chosen field of expertise. Who’s to say you won’t be the next person to discover a grain that is the most complete food in the world, find a cure for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, invent free energy for everyone, etc? You certainly won’t be that person, if your idea of Life is to just do what Society says you should do and shut up about your fantasies.
James Dyson refused to listen to his detractors who said his bagless vacuum cleaner idea sucked.
So, Life is short. Make it the best Life with the Time you’ve got. For tomorrow may not come for some of us here today.