A few days ago, I received a telephone call from from my lovely cousin, telling me that her mum had died! This was a complete shock, not least of all to my cousin, for her mum had shown no signs of anything suggesting that this awful event was imminent. My aunt was such a vibrant person; so very alive and filled with the spark of mischief and adventure. Only days before, her beaming face lit up my Facebook news feed as she was out and about having fun and looking great. How does one even begin to accept that this could possibly have happened? Yet, it has happened.
Life is so very precious and yet so very fragile. This reminds me of the death of my father back in 2002. Again, an incredibly vibrant person; full of adventure and in what appeared to be incredibly good physical shape. At age sixty-eight, he still had a six-pack and worked out for two hours per day. He had still been working, within months of his death and his job was not what you would expect someone to be doing just months before death; he was a stuntman and stunt choreographerand even at his age he was still being set on fire, jumping off buildings, spinning cars over and doing various dangerous acts for film and television. Yet, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and six weeks later he was dead. He had lived an incredibly fulfilling life.
Loss, particularly that of a parent, can make you think about your own mortality. How long do we have? How will we come to an end? How can we maintain health and increase the opportunity for a longer and healthy-as-possible life? These thoughts all come to the surface at the time of losing someone but very soon they fall back into our subconscious and we tend not to consider our mortality until the next loss occurs. Then, it all begins anew.
I guess the purpose of this post is really to ask each of you to stop, just for a moment, and consider how you are living. Consider your health and well-being. Consider your activity levels and lifestyle. Consider your vibrancy, or lack of. Are you participating in life or watching from a sofa? Are you living, or watching characters on television or film play out adventures that you could be having?
Even with Parkinson’s Disease, I fully intend to have more adventures in the future. I still aspire to see new places, meet new people and do new things. I can, however, sit here with satisfaction in the knowledge that I have had an incredibly adventurous life. I have travelled far and wide, I have done unique and amazing things, I have met the most unusual and extraordinary peopleand and I have experienced things that are way out of the ordinary context of how my life might appear on the surface. I have sat under distant skies, I have sailed on distant waters and I have experienced the richness of my five senses in places and situations that most would not believe or even imagine. Things that I will never write in this blog because they would seem too far fetched.
This is what living is. My recommendation to anyone reading this is to get up, switch off your tv, switch off your computers, tablets, phones and games – at least sometimes, and go out and have an adventure. Take a risk. Try something new.
I feel completely at peace about death, for I feel that I have lived a large life. I recall someone saying to me:
“Live many lives, within your life.” – Anon.
I have done just that and it has enabled me to feel utterly happy and fulfilled. I will continue to evolve and make changes happen, even while living with illness. Just this year I became a qualified writer, wrote two plays, three short story ebooks and a paperback and now I am also a radio broadcaster with my own weekly show! All this year. I already have ideas for new things for the year ahead, too.
I genuinely feel concerned for those who do not move to live in a new area, who do not travel the world, who do not go on an adventure, who do not push themselves and who do not reinvent aspects of their lives in order to have new experiences. Then again, perhaps those people do not know what they are missing and so will feel content to spend a lifetime carrying out the same routines, in the same places and existing in front of the television. Where, I have to ask, is the growth and development, the enrichment and the broadening of the mind, in that?
Remember this word: reinvention. Give it a go. Do not wait. Do it now by making a decision to do something different. Change one aspect of your life and watch a new adventure unfold. These need not be massive changes. To be clear, even simple changes enrich life. Take a different route to the shops or to work, so you see a different landscape or notice different things. Try a different food or ingredient in a meal. Visit a place or a person that offers something different to your usual experience and see what you learn, notice or feel. Study something or read about something and expand your thoughts, perspective and insight. Do you see? Adventure can come in many forms and sometimes the simple ones offer just as rich a gift. Make a change; grand or small.
Or don’t. Be warned, though; life is short. I do not say that with doom or gloom; just as a simple fact.
I wonder what you will decide? Do leave a comment below, should you make a change and welcome in the adventure of new experiences. Maybe you have already done so? In which case, please share something of your experience, below.
(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2019.