I’ve been out of town and away from the Internet (A.K.A. in the middle of nowhere), so I just heard the news of Amy Winehouse’s death. The British singer died of yet-to-be-explained causes, joining a host of talented musicians who have passed at 27. Her death impacted me in a way that Michael Jackson’s never did. Possibly because Amy was considerably younger and possibly because Michael’s personality wasn’t exactly likeable. I guess you could argue that Amy wasn’t quite likeable either, but something about her made me pause and reflect on myself.
Although I’m not very familiar with her music (“Rehab” is about the only song I’ve heard from her), she strikes me as incredibly real and raw. I relate to her downward spiral — although mine wasn’t nearly as extreme and drug-induced as hers, there was a point in my life when my demons finally caught up to me. I relate to her love life — I’ve certainly had relationships in my life that were more toxic than healthy. I relate to her vulnerability — in the midst of her struggles, she never hid who she was and what she was going through.
I know that this phrase gets thrown around too often and too carelessly, but I’ll say it again: life is short. Any of us could die any day, and I ask myself often, “If you died tomorrow, would you be pleased with what you’ve done in life? Would you be satisfied?” Right now, my answer is “almost”. I feel like I’m still too caught up in imaginary troubles and by the time my 80th (if I do live that long) birthday rolls around, I’ll look back on life and wonder where it all went. My goal from here on is to live each day like I’m dying (morbidly true) and enjoy each moment to the fullest. As part of this resolution, I’m making a list of rules to live by and hopefully some of you will be inspired too.
Life is too short…
- To be hung up on “can’t”s, “should”s, and “what if”s. Instead, focus on the things you can do, the things you want to do, and the things you can change.
- To be angry. The person who cut you off in traffic might not be alive next week. Is he really worth a minute of your energy spent ranting?
- Not to be thankful. After having spent a month in China, my new motto has become “home is where the toilet is”. Never forget to be thankful for everything, from indoor plumbing to your family.
- Not to treasure the love of your life. True love is rare and wonderfully fragile.
- Not to nourish your friendships. True friendship is just as rare, fragile, and necessary as true love.
- Not to love yourself. You only have one life to life — yours.
- Not to be yourself. What’s the point of trying to live someone else’s life?
Would you be satisfied if you died tomorrow?