I am not talking about Hollywood action movies where bunches of people get killed with a bam bam, nor the recent shooting in Oregon where a gun man shot down 9 people at a Community College. I am talking about you and me, and people around us. Today you may share a meal or a joke, tomorrow they may no longer be in your life.
I first encountered death when I was just three years old, when my maternal grandpa passed away. Back then, life and death seemed incomprehensible. All I remembered was his pale, wrinkly face, against the white sheet that covered his body. Then he was no longer at the dinner table and the house no longer stank of that horrible cigarette smell.
At 14, I witnessed my sister’s death. Before the Summer holiday when I was sent away to help the peasants in the fields, my sister Ping was fit and well, even cheerful. Then she was in hospital and gone within weeks.
As for me, I brushed with Death a couple of times before I reached adulthood, first with life-threatening meningitis when I was a few years old, then hit by a rusty hoe as a teenager. I could have been dead. ( Read The Same Moon about my early life).
Half a century or so later, I am still here, living life the way I want and doing things I enjoy doing: cooking, entertaining, reading, writing, travelling, helping those who need help.
Yes, I have helped a number of people who lost their loved ones, either to unexpected accidents, or fatal illnesses. No matter how hard we try, we are not prepared for the losses that befall upon us.
Today’s post is not going to all gloom and doom. I want us to look on the bright side of life. I want us to enjoy every moment, every day, no matter what we do and who we are with, or when we are alone.
Life is a precious gift, and we are to treasure it, spending it wisely and with people we want to spend it. There is no time to waste or to squander.
Take risks and take the initiative, try something new, meet new people, go the extra mile (or yard) to help others. In corporate life we have become frightened of risk. If you think back to the Victorians of Great Britain, and many of our ancestors long ago, they had a confidence, a sense of adventure. No challenge was too extreme.
Over the years “risk management” has become a profession – as we clammer more and more for certainty of the future and the avoidance of risk. Parents are the same with their children thinking they can plan their futures.
How often do those plans work out, and how often do the children end up doing something totally different, or being someone else rather than the one their parents have in mind? It is rather ironic when people drive their children to school to avoid them being run over, some of them die early from obesity later in life.
Life is unpredictable and has its own course to run, be it long, medium or short, great, decent or bad, satisfying, uninspiring or completely miserable. We may not be able to dictate exactly how it will turn out, but surely we can get on with it.
Live your life, and remember that it is YOUR life, and you own it!