On what makes a life well lived

I went to my uncle’s funeral yesterday. He was 85 and lived a full life. Married, had children, made mistakes, made some more, fixed those mistakes, and made amends with others. He was definitely not a saint but he wasn’t all at fault for all that’s gone wrong or right in his life either. I will always remember him as this man who was always cheerful, impeccably dressed, and loved watching wrestling. Yes the WWE. The last time we visited him at home, he actually had it on the TV and was excitedly talking to my brother about it. He may be the oldest fan of the franchise that I know. I’ve heard some stories about his life that have made me nod and think to myself that I’m not worried about what he’s done for himself, but for the family that he’s leaving behind, most particularly his grandchildren, who he was grandfather to, and sometimes father as well. He was a warm person and a fun loving guy, and my favorite memory of him is of three years ago, when our tire blew on the North Luzon Expressway, he took it upon himself to be an extra early warning device to make up for our puny orange cone. He picked up a large branch off the side of the road and just started waving it at the motorists that were passing through, to make sure they knew we were having an issue. It’s not very sweet. It’s definitely funny. It’s very much an anecdote of his personality, that he would make the effort to try and help, in any way he knew how. Also that he had a sense of humor about himself that never really went away.

The priest at the mass for him had said, the Bible says we live to 70. He got to live to 85, and for that, we need to be thankful. For anyone who gets to live their bonus years, and for being able to say goodbye in a room full of people who loved and cared for you until the end. Not a lot of people can say that. I am happy that he got to do so, and that the pain and difficulty he had been suffering the past several months because of the cancer that ravaged his body has now lifted, and in my head, he is off to his afterlife, sipping a brandy and watching advanced episodes of the WWE.

It’s really got me thinking about what I would be looking back on at my twilight years (If I’m lucky enough to get to them). I’ve been thinking about this a lot. It’s a mix of hearing friends describe their lives, what they’ve gone through, the situations they’ve been, the insanity that life has handed to them. While I have admittedly, gone the safest route possible, with the most moderate risks and thought about decisions this whole time.

 

I’m not particularly adventurous, nor very friendly. I don’t enjoy going out at night. I like to read, and catch up on shows I follow on TV. My most adventurous is when it comes to things I eat. Weird things, unusual tastes, I like to try new dishes and offerings that I can get to as much as I can. Even that though has its limits. I hardly go out anymore and I yawn when out at 9 pm at night. I stop drinking after two glasses/bottles. I don’t like rollercoasters, I don’t even watch horror movies. What gives me a thrill is a new restaurant, a nice  place to stay, a calm beach with no one else around and a cold drink.

My lifestyle was, and still is, quite boring, and my approach to life, safe. Sometimes I think about growing old and wanting to look back on life and finding something to reminisce about, the wild days. Because there are no wild days quite yet. Even at the age of 30, there are no stories that will make my future grandchildren blush or exclaim “Gross!”. And maybe that’s all right with me.

What scares me is not a life too safely played, but the inability to make significant connections to a minute amount of people. I am not very affectionate. 90% of my conversations are sarcastic comments and self-admonishing quips. I do not tell my friends I miss them or shower them with embarrassingly public displays of adoration during their birthdays or life milestones. I don’t even ask for hugs when I sometimes need them. I forget birthdays and lose numbers. When a friend is going down a self-destructive path and I can’t bear to watch them do it, but can’t really dictate their actions, I lend an ear when they ask, but don’t meddle. When I can no longer look, I step back and wait for them to ask for my help.

I’m hoping when I get to the afterlife and I’m asked what I did in this one, that I can answer truthfully that I’ve loved and tried all my best to help and not to hurt. Because there is so much hate, pain and suffering we can inflict on others, and I don’t want to be part of that as much as I can.

What do you consider a life well lived?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.