One of the saddest things you are going to encounter in retirement will be the announcements of the deaths of your peers. Try as you might to avoid hearing such bad news, you won’t be able to escape it. This may sound cruel but the only way I have been able to deal with the many death announcements I have been encountering lately is to follow the old army rule. That is, if your buddy next to you has been shot or injured, just keep your eyes focused straight ahead and keep on moving. There’s nothing you can do about your injured comrade. You have to concentrate on preserving your own life stream. And that is precisely what I do. I concentrate on myself and try to make it through yet another day. This is NOT to say the death of a peer, loved one or friend hasn’t affected me. It has. I have my own inner demons to slay each and every day. I can fall prey to depression at the drop of a hat. And when that happens to me, I oftentimes wish for my own death. It takes an effort for me to snap out of this malaise but I do it because I am aware of it. For others, it may not be as easy.
I start my day with the bluetooth transmission of upbeat (soft rock) music. I don’t think there will ever be a day when music is NOT being echoed throughout my home. I have found that I can not be sad while I’m humming upbeat songs from either Elton John or Neil Diamond. Once I’ve finished my coffee and read my emails, I have a daily systematic routine that I MUST follow. On the days where my mind is a vast ocean of chaos and confusion, I have that daily routine to get me back together again and centered.
There’s no doubt that living life is hard for almost all of us. We’ve all had our shares of horror stories. My life has been no exception. I don’t know exactly what motivates me off the imaginary bridge when I contemplate plunging to my death and instead, get up out of my bed each and every morning to happily face yet another day…..but I do it! And I really don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I like my life too much. I do have fun! Sure I may not have a friend in the world right now and my kids wish I would just go away, but I don’t need them to make my life complete. I have myself AND my spiritual belief that God is my friend and the only friend who will never fail nor desert me. I suppose when you know you have HIM, and that you and He can face the world’s challenges together, everything else will be fine.
Unfortunately, I don’t believe in life after death. I think that this is it. Jesus promises us a life after death but I have a hard time believing and accepting that divine principle. So, make the best of it. Live each day to its fullest. Take risks. Make a fool out of yourself if necessary. Try new things. There is no such thing as failure. It doesn’t matter one iota what other people think of you or what names they call you because in the end, no one will know nor remember. Unless you have discovered the cure for the common cold, most of us just pass through this life in the blink of an eye. I hate to break this to you BUT our lives really don’t matter much to anyone other than ourselves. And God.
I’m not sad that Tom has died. I celebrate his life. Not his death at 74. He was living a great, well deserved life in his retirement years. Tom served his country honorably in the Navy, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during an extremely contentious time in American history. Some of his hobbies included car racing, fishing, golfing, photography, traveling, scuba diving and skiing. How fortunate and lucky he was to have gone and experienced Africa. I bet he took some beautiful photographs that hopefully his wife will share with all of us at the club. I don’t mind my own life being as lonely as it is because I know in the end, just like Paula (Tom’s wife) will quickly find out, in the end, we are all we will have.
My eyes are focused straight ahead. God has given ME more days to live and I’m not going to waste a single second.
Live well and prosper, my friend. Live well and prosper.