“May you live every day of your life.”
I fell down something of a rabbit hole this past week, and the experience was enlightening, if not a bit frightening, as well. I got up in the night, passed out and ended up in the hospital, where I went through two days of every test they could think of. End result: I’m in much better health than I have any right to be, and the doctors had no clue as to what happened or why.
As I reflected during a few days of rest, two thoughts took root in my mind. First, the human body is immensely complex, and there are so many things that can go wrong that I am surprised it doesn’t break down more often. Modern medicine, despite its flaws, has advanced to the point that we take our health for granted and are reminded only in the fairly rare event that something like my experience happens. Even then, we expect our doctors to patch us up, so we can return to our assumed state of blissful ignorance.
Related to that thought was my second realization that, whether life is short or long, every day is unique and is something to live as best you know how. While in the hospital, I received a message that a friend, younger and by all accounts healthier than me, had died of a heart attack. It was completely unexpected and highlighted for me the importance of living “mindfully,” as Buddhists say. I believe a similar saying among actors is “being in the moment.”
Of course, you can sometimes hear one living “fully” though the words, “Hold my beer.” Another version of the same refrain from here in the South are the typical Redneck’s last words, “Hey y’all, watch this!” I’m thinking of a more meaningful approach to living each day to its fullest.
With that in mind and having some time on my hands, I went back to an early post from this blog and found a personal manifesto I had crafted for myself. It went like this:
Be Kind. The world can be a cruel place.
Live Small. Make room and save resources for others.
Seek Peace. Both within yourself and with others.
In light of my recent experience, I could add a few other maxims, such as,”Eat well, exercise and don’t forget to floss,” or “Avoid hospitals like the plague.” Kidding aside, the important thing, I believe, is that one thoughtfully find his or her own values to live by and keep them fresh and actively in mind. I certainly have renewed reason to do so, beginning today and until all I have to say is said and I am done. I hope that will be a long time from now.