Coronavirus Deaths Remind Us to Improve Our Lives
This morning I had to get out of the house. Went for a walk. Usually, I see dozens of people. Not this morning. Only about five or six.
You know why: the pandemic. Our country is in lockdown. Our streets have never been quieter. Oddness prevails.
I started thinking about a graduation speech that Steve Jobs gave at Stanford University several years ago. He pointed out that the greatest thing we know is that we are going to die.
Knowing this, we should feel liberated and energized to do whatever it is we want to do.
I think about this idea now because I think the coronavirus pandemic reminds us that we are all going to die. How could it not? The TV sets remind us of the numbers every day.
So many already have died. And those of us who haven’t want to avoid catching the virus so we don’t die.
We fear death, I think. So we hang on to life as long as we can in any way we can.
It’s too bad, I think, that we must be reminded about death as often as we are. I wish it would be more like once every five years instead of, seemingly, once every week or month.
Kobe Bryant died several weeks ago. No one saw that coming. But it happened. Weird and shocking deaths happen like this way too often for us to feel comfortable about our own ability to avoid death, and our own fears that we could be next. These ongoing deaths wear us down and disturb us.
One death that haunts more than all the others I’ve heard about and lived through. It was my high school baseball teammate, a star pitcher and led us to the championship, who died in a car accident at age 16.
Since then many other people I have known well have died. But that high school friend was the first one. I knew that guy. I spoke with him, laughed with him, competed with him, and celebrated with him.
His death told me that, yes, death is for real and can happen. Kids were not incapable of dying, and I was a kid so I could die.
I could go on about many other deaths that have shaken me to my core or shocked me. Len Bias, the Maryland basketball star, is one. A 22-year-old superstar basketball player who was on the verge of achieving his dream, being a pro, dozed off into death after snorting cocaine.
There have been dozens of others. It’s like a parade you watch as people in your life die and you wonder if you’re in the parade or watching it.
These reflections are not meant to pull you down. I don’t believe that’s my purpose nor worthwhile. These thoughts are meant to make you think about your life and what you are doing with it and check on whether you think there is anything you can do today, tonight, tomorrow and the next day to make your life and others around you more fulfilling.
Are you fulfilled? Do you have something you want to get done today or tonight that you would like to if tomorrow morning your life ends? What is it that moves you? What do you, in the end, truly care about? Who do you really care about? Why do you care about this?
I think it’s time for all of us, this esteemed Baby Boomer Brotherhood, to take a moment as our lives our on pause to think about what else you feel needs to get done and will require your effort to do so.
I think it’s time to stop wishing for something to happen and start making sure it happens.
I think it’s time for your heart to lead you where it wants you to go. It’s time for you to be open, to free yourself of inhibitions and insecurities and just lay it all on the line right now.
Celebrate this realization and uplift the people in your world.