I heard something about headstones on the radio the other day, and they said something about the dates that were to be put on our headstones. And this idea popped into my head. It’s so true ! It IS about the dash. The dash between the dates of our day of birth, and our death. How do we spend that time? What do we start out wanting to accomplish in our lives, and how many times do we get sidetracked by events or people that we hadn’t planned for. Afterall, that is what Life is all about. We never know from day to day what is going to happen when we, if we, wake up each morning.
When you lay down at night, and you are replaying what the day held for you, are you thinking about what you’re going to do tomorrow? Of course you are. The things that may have messed up the present day may spill over into the next day, so we think about ways to avoid the problem, or maybe solve it. Of course it never enters our minds; unless we are sick, that we may never wake up the next morning. Until we are sick, or old, that thought never enters our minds. And yet, it should.
We should never take a single day for granted. All the cliche’ things that are said about never missing an opportunity to tell someone that we love them. Stop and smell the roses, they say. Slow down and look around. Easier said than done isn’t it?
I can distinctly remember the very first time that I thought about this very thing. Up until then, I had always just put off thinking about bad things, and how they could happen to anyone, at any time. But this one example really put the whole idea in the front of my brain. I think it may have actually made me a little paranoid too if I think about it…..which I do. A lot.
There was a little club in Dayton, Ohio that I used to visit. Had many a good time there. And really hated it when it closed. Super hated it that it had “help” closing, but that’s another story. Anyway, there was a guy there that was pretty-much a permanent fixture there. He and his wife were much younger than I was. I honestly don’t even remember his first name. We all just called him “Naked Man”. Because, he was always naked. Didn’t matter when you saw him, he was naked. No matter how early I got to this club, he was already naked. Of course that should tell you what kind of club it was, but hey, I’m not ashamed of that either. But I digress. Naked Man was one of the funniest people I ever met. He “held court” in the back lounge of the club, where he would sit and tell jokes, and funny stories all night long. It was hilarious to spar with him one on one. We would throw one-liners at each other, and everyone would join in. It was so much fun. It was right around the time that the Austin Powers movie came out, and Naked Man did the most awesome imitation of Dr. Evil. I would beg him to do it for me everytime I saw him. And sometimes he would play hard to get, but eventually, he’d give in and it was always SO worth it. Everyone loved him. He and his wife were some of the sweetest people you’d ever want to meet. I didn’t have too much contact with the people that went to the club except through a message board that we had through Yahoo. I will never forget the morning that I signed on to find out that Naked Man was dead. The way it was explained to me was that he woke up in the morning, swung his feet out of bed and stood up to go toward the bathroom and dropped dead of a massive heart attack. He was 32. Everyone was devastated. We all pooled some money together for his wife and their kids. Hell, he was young. He didn’t have any life insurance. I’m sure it was tough for the family.
But that was the first time that I realized that it wasn’t a “given” that we were promised the next day. Now, I can’t sit here, typing this, and tell you that I made any major changes in how I lived my life. Because I didn’t. I still haven’t. All the things that I do that I know I shouldn’t do, eat the wrong things, drink the wrong things, not exercise enough, you name it but that are the things that I enjoy in life, I still do. I rely too heavily on the fact that I am healthy for now. I know that isn’t always going to be the case. I know that there are people that I don’t give enough attention to in my life. There are times when I could break down and call a friend or a family member just to see how they are, and instead I jump on the computer and log in to Facebook just to see that they are alive and well —– because it’s easier. That’s selfish of me, and I know it. I’m ashamed to say that the only time I really go out of my way to call someone that I haven’t spoken to in a while is when I have homework that I should be doing. Now how lame is that? There’s only one person on this planet that I would stop the world for to be there for them, and that’s my son. And yet, even he and I don’t talk as often as maybe we should. I don’t want to nag him. And I’m sure he’s busy being in school and such. But lately, when I feel like I just need to hear him, I do call. With the crappy weather that they have been having in Virginia, I worry more about him. It’s a Mom thing…ya know.
But about that dash thing. What do you think? I used that tombstone generator to make my picture here. Go there and make one with your name on it. And sit for a moment. And stare at that dash between when you got here, and think about what you’d like to have happened in your life before that OTHER date is filled in. And don’t “dash” through life too much !