Early in high school, I discovered what Tyler Cowen calls a “quake book” – a book that fundamentally alters my world view and how I live. Tuesdays with Morrie is a book about death, and it has changed how I view, and talk about death, ever since.
When my best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer almost a year ago, I re-read Tuesdays with Morrie. I began to have a lot of conversations with my friend and her spouse about death, dying, grief, and love.
Even beyond the breast cancel diagnosis, this year hasn’t been exactly mellow. My little company Zander Media had an epic year, and that growth came, in equal measure, with a lot of challenge. My aunt died in August, and my car was totaled on the freeway driving home from her memorial in October.
I’m returning from a week in Vieques, Puerto Rico, where my best friend has lived for the last few years. As we ever do, we spent the week talking about taboo topics and trading “lessons” – gentle, somatic movement – and swimming in the Caribbean. Six weeks after my car accident, I’m through most of the shock.
I’ve finally begun to slow down after the marathon-sprint that has been the last year.
In “Tuesdays with Morrie” the author, Mitch Albom reconnects with his old teacher and mentor, Morrie, who is slowly wasting away from Lou Gehrig’s disease. Gifted with a dozen brief visits, these two men resume their friendship and discuss a myriad of facets of life. The book ends, of course, with Morrie’s passing.
My friend and I have talked ever day for 15 years. I’ve always assumed we’d have 30 more years together. Now, I don’t know how much time we’ll have left.
I’ve learned, again and again this year, that we never really know.
With my friend, with myself, and with everyone I love – I intend to make the most of this time. As young as I feel at 36, I’ve realized that these lives we are given are short and fleeting. I intend to live fully, but not go too fast. To love fiercely without holding too tight. I’ll also be back to Vieques to see my friend, very soon.