I envy the mountains. Solid and stoic, they watch over the world for eons. Our lives are but the twinkling of a firefly compared to the towering monoliths. They must look down upon us, much in the way we tower over the ants, and wonder why we scurry about so frantically. To answer the mountains’ unasked question, we must hurry. Our lives are finite. According to a 2010 United Nations study, the average life expectancy for a human is estimated to be 71 years. The honey-do list is a mile long and we are running out of Saturdays.
That you have a limited time on this planet should come as no surprise. Most of us are well aware of our own mortality. Even Pinterest is inundated with posts reminding everyone we are not guaranteed tomorrow. We are allotted a certain number of hours and we can spend them as we will. Once torn off the calendar on your desk, each day becomes lost to the annals of history. To waste such a precious, non-renewable resource would seem to be a grave sin.
Death and the passage of time evokes a certain seriousness. Contemplation of a world lacking you stirs emotions filled with fear and sadness. The possibility of departure from this life might instill a determination to accomplish at all cost. But, treating every action in life with solemnity or urgency can be as detrimental as wasting your life doing nothing. I do not foresee anyone lying on their deathbed wishing they had filled out a few more budget request forms or spent a few more hours at the Department of Motor Vehicles. There most certainly is a time and a place to be stern, but to really succeed in life you must be able to identify when seriousness is required and when it can be abandoned.
In my life, I tend to err towards the abandonment of the somber. My wife and children view me as goofy. I go to work and take pride in my job. I parent and take pride in my family. However, I rarely miss the opportunity to laugh, or play. My daughter and I have an uncanny knack of creating a game out of almost anything. As discussed earlier, life is short. I refuse to allow the weight of the world to burden my soul. This is not born out of naivete or ignorance. I care about politics, society, and ecology. I just refuse to create additional angst for my life. If the situation demands I can, usually, approach it with the requisite seriousness. I simply choose not to go out of my way looking to add austerity to my life.
As for jokes at a funeral, at that I might draw the line. A funny anecdote to ease the pain of loss is fine, but the only time you should be allowed to tell jokes at a funeral is if it is your own.
Photo Credit: quiita from buzzxtra.com