Live Your Life

Recently my wife and I attended an event featuring Terry Gross, host of the NPR radio show, Fresh Air. In addition to discussing her career of over 25 years she played excerpts from some of her favorite interviews.

One of her favorites was with Maurice Sendak, an author and illustrator. He knew at the time of the interview that he only had a short time left; he said, “Live your life. Live your life. Live your life.” He died soon after.

I thought of this when I read a book review of On Living by Kerry Egan. She’s a hospice chaplain. She said, “If there is any great difference between the people who know they are dying and the rest of us it’s this: They know they’re running out of time. They have more motivation to do the things they want to do, and to become they person they want to become. There’s nothing stopping you from acting with the same urgency the dying feel.” The reviewer added, “If there is one thing death teaches us, it’s how to live.”

This also reminded me of a quote from Steve Jobs; “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” He died at age 56.

We all have a finite time to live. What we do to make that time enjoyable and productive is up to us. We have a choice: to maximize our time in terms of enjoyment and productivity – or not. What we do to take care of ourselves, via exercise and healthy eating, matters a lot.

The Dali Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, said: “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present. The result being that he does not live in the present or the future: he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

At age 79 I don’t spend time thinking about how much longer I may be around, but I do think about what I need to do to stay active and healthy, and what it means to lead a good life.

I like the phrase, “Live your life.”

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7 Responses to Live Your Life

  1. Chet Hobert says:

    I didn’t review this one. I believe the “they” at the beginning of the 5th line of the 3rd paragraph should be “the.”

  2. Sandy Hackney says:

    Bravo Harry! And, thank you for these wise words.

  3. Audrey Brown says:

    Excellent message, Harry.

  4. Ed Stanford says:

    I have a friend who is a demographer by trade, so he knows a few facts or big data sets about mortality and the like. When he was 69, he said he was retiring from his university position. I told him he shouldn’t do that. He had a good gig and was still quite capable of the required performances. His answer: “I’m too busy to work.”

  5. Jacqueline Pierce says:

    Since reading your book fitness beyond fifty, it has motivated me more than any other book. I’ve found myself actually becoming more aware of the importance of going to the gym for a good cardio and weight routine. I can’t began to tell you or others how well I feel, appreciate what has been happening to me and I’m finally living my life full of excitement, confidence and wonder. Great message that says it all. Thanks,

  6. Harry says:

    It’s gratifying to receive such nice comments. I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed writing this blog. It originated from information I’d heard and read over the past few years. I couldn’t forget “Live you life.”

  7. Kathy says:

    Your book and now this blog continue to motivate me tremendously to exercise in some way every morning and I always feel great afterwards. Thank you for that.

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