This I believe…

Mark - Wheelersburg, Ohio
Entered on February 27, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: carpe diem

Robin William’s character in the movie Dead Poets’ Society, a teacher named Mr. John Keating, attempted to instill in his students the concept of carpe diem (to “seize the day”). I need to personally grab that idea (that concept) and run with it. I do need to “lighten up.” I do need to get rid of my lists and all the artificial structure in my life. In fact, I believe each and every individual should “live life to the fullest.” I realize this is an overused cliché, but in this I believe.

Sadly, however, I do not live life to its fullest because of all the daily routines that are “supposedly” necessary events to live life. This has become quite evident with my father’s recent downward spiral with dementia and Alzheimer’s. My father was once a vibrant, entertaining, and loving individual who never had a bad thought or bad action in his life. He seemed to know everyone and everyone knew him as a friendly, good person. Today, he is nothing but a “body” carrying around a physically healthy person who has no clue who he is, who his wife is, who I am, who my wife or children are, who is friends are, or even where he actually is. It is sad to see an individual who lived his life to the fullest reduced to, almost over night, basically nothing. It is even harder to see my mother suffer, through no fault of her own, because of this horrific situation. Her life has become shorter just living with the daily experiences of living with an Alzheimer’s “victim.”

It truly makes you wonder about what is important. Is checking your email hourly (or even more frequently) really necessary? Do you have to constantly answer your cell phone each time it “rings”? I realize you cannot and I cannot totally control what will happen tomorrow–not to mention in our future. Who knows when our end will come or when our “facilities” will become nothing more than “mush.” It makes you wonder if there is an all-powerful Supreme Being (e.g. God), which is something I really didn’t believe in before and have less belief in today. It makes you wonder how important seeing “the big picture” or thinking about the “future” really is. How sad: I cannot even find time to be with him in his final days.

Honestly, I guess I am sort of going through a mid-life crisis now that I have hit age 42. I need to stop worrying. I need to stop planning my entire life down to the smallest minute detail. I need to stop asking myself “What if?”. I truly believe I need to start living life to its fullest. Now, if I could only let down my guard and follow my own medicine, I might be able to “seize the day.”