A couple of weeks ago I went to Curves for the first time in a really long time. I was shocked to see the obituary of one of the Curves members posted. And while I didn't know Deb well, she and I did work out at the same time of day and I did know who she was. I couldn't believe that she had died! Deb was a tall, thin, active woman who appeared to be in her early sixties. She was also an artist who displayed her work on the wall of the Curves Center. It was obvious she had an active and full life. She was mentally and physically strong. That was why her death seemed so sudden and shocking. That and the fact that she was 76 years old! 76! I remember feeling upset by the fact that someone so healthy and strong had died so suddenly. She was still really living her life and it seemed she had many more healthy years ahead of her. And Deb is not the only person I've known who died while still full of life. And it never fails to shock and dismay me. Of course I realize that this is preferable to dying a slow and debilitating death from illness or disease. But who doesn't hope for a long life and a quiet, peaceful death in extreme old age?
A few days after learning of Deb's untimely death, I happened to see the authors of a new book on the Today Show. Susan Love and Alice Domar were being interviewed about their book Live a Little! The premise of the book is that it's time for women to relax about the rigid health rules we've all learned. That it's OK to skip an occasional workout, to eat a piece of cake and that losing some sleep occasionally will not kill you. It's all about balance. I suppose there's some wisdom in that, but what struck me about the interview was something Dr. Nancy Snyderman (the Today Show correspondent) said. She said that the goal is to live a big life and then to slide out at home plate. She went on to say that we should all be striving to lead a full life that is vibrant and exciting and then to drop dead. Her blunt words shocked me at first, but then as I thought about them, I realized that she is right. And while it might be nice to live to extreme old age and still retain all my marbles and then die quietly in my sleep, the reality is that that doesn't happen too often. Better to live my life fully and die while still engaging in that very fullness. The hard part is for those who are left behind to not feel as though that person has been robbed of many more years of a vibrant life. Or that we have been deprived of their presence in our lives. That part is much harder to overcome.