Life Well Lived
The father of my friend Luke passed away, and family and friends gathered to celebrate his life well lived. I first met him when I was nine; I was in my mid-20s the last time I saw him. By hearing the comments of others, I was able to extend the portrait of him while connecting the dots of my memories with those of others.
Luke said his dad was a survivor, making it through a variety of things ranging from Scarlet Fever to World War II and more. He even clarified that his dad loved the survive-and-flourish aspect of living...not just plodding day to day, but using the chance to survive as an opportunity to experience. Since I haven't seen his dad in almost three decades, I considered how it was that he must have aged. I thought of Pete Seeger's tune, "Get Up and Go."
How do I know my youth is all spent?
My get up and go has got up and went
But in spite of it all I'm able to grin
And think of the places my get up has been.
Old age is golden so I've heard said
But sometimes I wonder as I crawl into bed
With my ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup
My eyes on the table until I wake up.
As sleep dims my vision I say to myself:
Is there anything else I should lay on the shelf?
But though nations are warring and business is vexed
I'll stick around to see what happens next.
When I was young my slippers were red,
I could kick up my heels right over my head.
When I was older my slippers were blue,
But still I could dance the whole night thru.
Now I am older my slippers are black,
I huff to the store and I puff my way back.
But never you laugh; I don't mind at all,
I'd rather be huffing than not puff at all.
I get up each morning and dust off my wits
Open the paper and read the obits
If I'm not there I know I'm not dead
So I eat a good breakfast and go back to bed
Words collected, adapted and set to original music by Pete Seeger (1960)
TRO (c) 1964 (renewed) Melody Trails Inc., New York, NY
My dad used to say that he didn't want to be a day younger than he was at the moment. Each day was a day to learn and live, and "Who wants to go through all those lessons again?" he would say.
Here is to the day. Each day. To living them in ways so that others celebrate our lives and appreciate the beauty of life lived well.
Listen to Life is a free newsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com). Copyright 2010 Dion McInnis. All rights reserved.