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The lucky people are the ones who can look back on their lives and say there’s very little they would change. But they’re few and far between. The truth is, birth and death aren’t the big issues – those are mostly things you have little say over. It’s the stuff in between that matters. That’s always your choice. Your life book can read like an instruction manual for a kitchen blender, or an adventure novel by Clive Cusslar. It’s your choice.

Remember, failing is a part of learning. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t live so cautiously that you die by default – that your eulogy is so boring people draw straws to avoid having to give it. I’d rather have a life of “oh wells” than a life of “what ifs…”

Our society is such that we’re always in a hurry. Half of us are born prematurely and the other half die prematurely. All the time in between seems more like a race than a jaunt. We’re constantly striving to improve our living conditions – the things around us – better houses, better cars, better jobs. We spend very little time trying to improve ourselves. Mostly we just complain…

We’re such a contradictive species. We honor birth on the same level as accomplishment, as if it is some extraordinary achievement. When the lowliest of animals do the same thing. The purpose of life is not to breed blindly in mindless, momentary bliss. Adding another soul to an already overcrowded planet is not an accomplishment. The purpose is to be useful and honorable – to be discerning and compassionate, to have made some difference on this spinning ball of earth and water, and to have lived life well.

Don’t live your life in the shadows of others. Don’t let the furor of other people’s dogma or opinions drown out your own inner voice. Listen to your heart, and never be afraid to take a chance. If you haven’t lived on the edge once or twice, you can never truly appreciate what you have. God gave us life, but it’s entirely up to you whether it’s a good, bad, or indifferent trip. Quit waiting for good things to come to you. Go out and find them.

Finally I’m going to remind those folks long of tooth that age is relative. You can be old before your time, or idiotically young any time you want. The thing most connected to disease and lethargy is frame of mind.

I’ll leave you with a quote by Jimmy Buffett, which pretty much sums it up: “I’d rather die while I’m living than live while I’m dead.”

The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the ownership and staff of The Polk County Pulse. Michael Reisig is a freelance writer and published author whose works are reproduced throughout the globe.

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