I grew up in the tall shadows of an over achieving sister. She was everything, made everything, excelled at everything and worked her ass off to do it. She was beautiful and wonderful at the same time. She taught us lessons until her last breath. I know this; I was there when she died.
Karen was a good woman. In short, she could be sophisticated, athletic, and terribly simple. Perhaps her best attribute was being simple. I always knew where I stood with her. You could discuss a situation in Afghanistan, pollution, the meaning of life and sex without ever raising a political red flag. I never walked away being pissed at her. You just agreed, didn’t care, or disagreed. She had the ability to get her point across without making you feel anything.
How simple is that?
My sister woke up every day feeling lucky. Primarily because she had another day. One more. That’s it. This is a really low bar to start from. Unless, you don’t wake up. It’s a pretty simple way of looking at life. Our mom used to say to us when we were kids, “I never want to lose a day.” This would happen if she had a bout with the flu and had to stay in bed or change her routine. My sister was listening.
For me, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed with a high bar every day. I did this for a long, long time. I often say that people don’t change much after forty. At the risk of contradicting myself, I think I have. I have also changed after fifty, and fifty-five. I have likely changed more in the past year or so than at any point in my life. I would have bet everything that this wasn’t possible.
I would have made a very, losing bet.
I have battled any number of pains, toils and troubles. Life isn’t easy.
My business principals have remained intact. If they have changed, they have tightened. I expect more. I believe surrounding myself with people who are better than me is the best way to go. It has served me well. Pretty simple.
Personally, I consume books, music and words of any kind. Words are in my head like: conversations, arguments, pleads for help, prayers, songs, ideas, observations, fears, thoughts, questions, answers, and verses.
I talk more. I used to be so quiet; few knew I had a view on anything. Writing has become my voice. I don’t need to say the words. I guess this is simple as well. Perhaps I have just reached a point where I believe I have something to share.
Being chased by the devil sure sucks. Particularly when you don’t pray that much. As I age, I imagine my life will continue to become more simple. In fact, I look forward to it. I just wish I had figured out sooner that more of everything wasn’t success. I didn’t, and I would say I have wasted a lot of time along the way running after nothing.
It’s funny how Karen and I led such divergent lives, as brother and sister, only to arrive at the same place. Simple. She won the race to simplicity and moved on to the next challenge. I am getting there, still lagging behind and feeling the pain. It hurts more every day.
Keep your life simple, your goals reasonable and achievable. If you can’t explain them in two or three sentences find new ones. Keep those close to you a little closer. There is a bright future out there for all of us. Make sure you don’t miss it.
In the end
I’ll be in a cast of ashes
From my flame
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