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Death is a Pinch to Remember to Live Life Well

Posted Dec 04 2009 9:11pm

We carve out risk-free lives where nothing happens.”  James Hillman, psychologist

If we live all the days between 0 and 80 it is less than 30,000 days. Which really doesn’t sound like a hell of a lot. So if you are 40 it’s less than 15,000 days and 60 is less than 7,500 days.

I purchased the art that is pictured here. I was the only one who bought anything in the show “Domestic Death” by Mary Mazziotti who combines embroidery and fabric paint on pre-printed vintage textiles. The art is a reminder not to take time for granted. It is so easy to get caught up in a deadening routine and then our days slip away.

Therapy is to help people expand their possibilities. It’s so easy to lose track of dreams when you’re trying to pay the bills. So many people in our culture seem to suffer from a lack of dreams or imagination. The recession inhibits risks and dreams. Women often get caught up in their children’s dreams and lose track of their own.

How do you want people to remember you when you’ve died? Consider writing your own eulogy which could give you ideas of how to better live your life now. Each one of us is a fingerprint with our own individual answers. There is not one way to go about it, which is why people’s choices are so interesting. Having less time means there’s more clarity about what matters and less willingness to waste time.

On my husbands 50th, many years ago, I gave him a picture of a diner that had special meaning. In 1975 we were in that diner worrying we’d made a huge mistake. We had $300, and two days to find a place to live in Pittsburgh, a city we had never even visited before. On the back of the picture I wrote “Let’s never stop taking risks”. We’ve continued to live that way without regret. Life is full and rich but only if you step out into it. If you hide from life in fear and routine you will only cheat yourself.

Many people age into smaller and smaller worlds. I’ve watched my mother in law leave behind the synagogue where she worshiped, then she stopped going to her bridge group on Tuesdays and Fridays and now she rarely leaves her apartment. Her world is dramatically shrinking. At her age, 85, it is understandable and yet it is still a shame at the same time. Aging can include more imagination about possibilities and the ability to try new things, never has to leave us.

So find your courage to do something new and be willing to risk failure. Ask yourself what is significant to you. Look at your calendar and checkbook; that will be the evidence of what really matters. Do you want to do anything differently? Don’t take your time on this planet for granted and decide to make the most of it by doing something new and unfamiliar. I doubt I will ever live anywhere without the clarity of four distinct seasons; every season is a pinch to say time keeps moving on, pay attention!

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