Monday, January 25, 2010

Sliding Out at Home Plate

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.


Sue Jackson said...

Pam -

That's always been my mom's philosophy!! I try to make the most of my life, too.

Thanks for the kind comments on my blog today. I plan to continue following your blog, so you'll still hear from me! Actually, some of my courage to make this leap came from you - you've often talked on your blog about setting priorities and doing what's right for YOU.


tori said...

This is a great post. Hitting 40 last year and moving has made these last 6 months feel as though I'm in a holding patern.
I'm finally feelling like I'm ready to get out there and start living again.
When all is said and done, I want to look back and say I had a full life.

Isk8Jewel (~Julie~) said...

I agree.

My mom left behind crystal rarely used and clothing still with tags on - she wanted to save everything for a special occassion. What I learned from this is that each day is a special ocassion and if you want to use the china a Tuesday night for delivery pizza, then go for it! :)

Tricia said...

Great post. And I think its entirely possible to live life to its fullest, in a healthy way. Balance is key.

And thanks for the kind comment today. :)

Gamma Sharon said...

Well I have seen both in my parents... Mom died at 59 and struggled with cancer for her last 1 1/2 years and my Dad got up one morning went to the bathroom laid back down in bed with his 2nd wife and had a massive heart attack. For me, as one of his survivors, Moms was harder than Dads. Dad had been dancing the day before and Mom suffered. I want to go like my Dad! Its a shock but you know he did what he wanted until the end.

Sandy said...

Well, you know how my father died....with places to go and things to do. Seems that's the best way. I'm thankful I didn't have to see him suffer with any long illness but I do wish he'd stuck around a little longer, for Mom as much as anyone. But you're right, living life to its fullest and going quickly is certainly the best but how to we guarantee that? That's the question.

Karen said...

Such great advice. I've come to realize in the last few months that I am a very busy person who spends almost all of my free time doing things for other people. While I don't want to become selfish or all about me, and I still want to volunteer, etc, I'm not really having fun. I'm busy, but I don't enjoy it that much. I'm not really living. And that needs to change.

Anita said...

I think my age and watching my aging parents has made me very aware of the value of each day. My parents say they have lived full lives and if it's their time.......they are ready to go. Seeing both my in-laws suffer before death is not how I hope to go.
I like the sliding into home thought!


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