The Things We Carry

I think we’re all carrying weight based on our life experiences.

I carry some weight around the subject of death.

Back when I was in college in my early 20s it was unusual that my parents aren’t around. Now I’m in my 40s and it’s much less unusual. Lots of people my age don’t have parents anymore. Some people say college was the best part of their lives. I was grieving the whole time. It wasn’t the best part of my life. Now is.

My father died at the age of 56 and my mother died at the age of 58. I was born when they were in their 40s, so they’ve been gone since I was a teenager. Sometimes I call myself an orphan and that’s not really accurate because I was 19 when I was on my own. Technically I was an adult, but if you’ve ever met a 19 year old you probably know we should be saying “adult”.

And, at that time, I knew it was a tragedy when dad got cancer and died and three years later mom got cancer and died. Of course it was a tragedy. They left behind me. But I didn’t realize the simple fact that they were so young. My parents had gray hair and were older than any of the other parents that were around with kids my age, so I didn’t have that awareness that 56 and 58 are YOUNG.

In total honesty, I didn’t get a vasectomy because I was certain I didn’t want any more kids. I got a vasectomy because I knew I really didn’t want to have any in my 40s…just in case.

Now, what I want to say is: these cancers were not the scary hereditary kinds. At least that’s what my doctor tells me. So at least there’s that. And my rational mind is fully aware of that. But, you know what?

There’s that other part of my mind that isn’t rational. So the baggage of “i could get sick and die” is still with me and probably always will be. I don’t need to carry that baggage, I don’t need to think about that.

But at the same time, does it help me appreciate life? Maybe. It definitely helps me appreciate time with my kids. And it helps me want to create value in this world. I want to do good things because tomorrow is not promised. Life is impermanent and the truth is we should all remember that.

Anyone can die at any time. So don’t waste your life. Love more, share more, be kinder. And bring all your energy and focus to the things that matter.

Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us.

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