One of the anthems of the 1980s is “It’s My Life” performed by Bon Jovi and written by Richard Sambora, Jon Bon Jovi and Max Martin. While the ladies are quite fond of Mr. Bon Jovi, his group would not be as successful without great songs. This one should resonate with all, as evidenced by the first few lyrics.
This ain’t a song for the broken-hearted
No silent prayer for faith-departed
I ain’t gonna be just a face in the crowd
You’re gonna hear my voice
When I shout it out loud
It’s my life
It’s now or never
I ain’t gonna live forever
I just want to live while I’m alive
(It’s my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said
I did it my way
I just wanna live while I’m alive
It’s my life
Folks, this is not a rehearsal. Yes, there may be an afterlife but we won’t know for sure until the time comes. My suggestion is living a life that is worth living. That does not mean partying hard all the time, but as David Brooks has noted in his recent book on “The Road to Character,” live a life for what they will say at your eulogy, not on your resume. Please do have your fun, but I have discovered that a life where I try to help people, gives me back so much.
In the documentary movie, “I AM,” the punchline is money does not create happiness. Having some money does alleviate unhappiness as it shelters, feeds and clothes you and your family, but amassing a lot of money has a diminishing return on happiness. Per the interviews with countless psychologists, sociologists, faith leaders, etc., the key to happiness is reaching out to others and interacting with them. The psychic income from that effort is huge.
Yet, whatever you decide to do, live your life. Take some chances. You will fail from time to time. Don’t worry. Learn from it. Pick yourself back up, dust yourself off and move forward. Travel somewhere beyond your boundaries. Meeting fascinating people is a wonderful experience. When our family took a vacation to Ireland, I remember meeting Oola from Belgium in a café near the Cliffs of Moher. What a delight she was. I remember the advice from a cabbie who told my son who wanted to start a tavern, to be sure not to “drink away your profits.”
Live your life. It is not your parents’ life. It is yours. Of course, listen to what your parents have to say, as they tend to know a thing or two, but stretch your wings. But, remember to be generous of your self. Your time and interest for others can mean a great deal to them and you. I mentioned living for what is said at your eulogy.
A good man and friend died the other day. His funeral was well attended by many as he was as generous a soul as you will find. His kids’ friends were always welcome at his house and his son said he treated them like he was interested in them. His colleagues had many wonderful stories about this kind man. I guess if I had to sum up his life, he was generous with his time for others. He was a wonderful and devoted husband of over 50 years. And, he died well-loved and remembered.