I wasn’t born yesterday, or the day before yesterday, or the day before …. Am I not young or am I old? I would rather be old than a negative young. My quibbling over word choice prompts a memory of my college days. A bunch of us are sitting on the dorms’ hall floor with an over- flowing ashtray in the center of the circle and a bottle of cheap wine being passed around. We are discussing “the meaning of life ” and being very profound. Before too long several of us will think of a boyfriend we are fighting with or missing a lot and (under the influence), tears will come. The group will break up as members slip away to make that important phone call to reconnect. But before this happens we are very profound. I can’t remember any of the conclusions we reached, but the comraderie was great and the wine was bad. Thank god we were not being filmed or we would have made a very bad film. Listen and learn as the college girls discover the meaning of life, blah,blah….blah.
These days I don’t smoke or drink and getting up off the floor would be a question mark. Of course, I am still profound! As I started writing today I was headed towards the ” leave the world a better place, find your purpose” noble hypothesis for the meaning of life, but I am taking a big U turn. Life is lived hiking in the mountains, on dorm floors, in a hospital room and around the table playing a silly game. There’s laughter, tears, giggles, fears, rants and the triumphant fist in the air “Yes!”. So my new hypothesis is: the moments of life that we are present for and experience fully are the “meaning” of life. That’s it! So there we were, a bunch of college girls laughing and crying, smoking and drinking and thinking very hard about the meaning of life when all around us and within us life was shouting “Pay attention. This is the meaning of life. This moment is all there is!”
I have written about being with Roger as his dementia slowly claimed his mind and body. He was only in the moment, and when he invited me to share that moment with him I was honored to accept his invitation. Listening to the birds, feeling the sun on our faces, looking at books, playing games and going on walks were just a few of the life moments we shared. One of my fondest memories of healthy Roger was his singing the theme from “Rocky” as I finished an hour run and raised my fist and shouted “Yes!” It was a beautiful Sunday morning, warm, sunny and clear blue skies and I was alive and Roger was alive. We were the meaning of life in that moment.
In the movie “Shawshank Redemption”, Red (Morgan Freedman) says:
I guess it all comes down to a simple choice really. Get busy living, or get busy dying.