Not the last lecture

But hopefully a significant one nonetheless.

I haven’t read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch yet, although I might someday.  It sounds like something I should read.  Nevertheless, one of the tidbits in my alumni magazine is a list of the top ten best sellers in the university bookstore, both fiction and nonfiction.  Seeing Pausch’s book in the list made me start off on some rambling and ludicrously maudlin thought track of what I (in all my fame and wisdom) would say if it were my last long-winded, rambling, mostly bullshit diatribe ever.

You know.  My last chance to blather on about shit.  I can see you all cringing in fear already.

But anyway, the idea occupied my thoughts for a few days before I finally decided to write something out about it.  I intended to hold onto it for a while, but then I realized that the stupidest, most absolutely brain-dead (or, alternatively, the most ludicrously chickenshit) thing about creating a list of all the things you wanted to be able to tell people before you kicked the bucket would be holding it back.

Yes, surely this will change as I grow older and learn more.  (God, I hope so!  Otherwise I’m a pathetic excuse for a human being, much less someone who aspires to find the Way.)  But for right now, I guess this is what I have to say.  I’m not dying, nor do I plan to anytime in the next, oh, thirty or forty years.  But hey, plans can change.  And besides, a big theme of what I had to say was what I’m thankful for having learned…and what more appropriate place to publish that than for Thanksgiving?

Well, maybe New Year’s Eve.  You’ve got me there.  But screw it, it feels artificial to sit on it for a month.  So here goes.

I started this blog for more or less selfish reasons. I wanted to believe that I had Something Important to say to the world, and I wanted to take the opportunity to say it. Whatever It was, if I could ever figure It out. Similarly, I was consciously using my writing as cheap therapy.

I think we all struggle to be known, and thenceforth to be loved. Speaking for myself, I haven’t often had the courage in my life to allow myself to be known, but in some ways…imperfect and incomplete, but real enough, I think and hope…I’ve tried to make myself as known through this blog – to you folks – as I have to anyone, anywhere.

I’ve learned a lot about myself during this process. I don’t know if any of it translates to other people at all, or even if people are ultimately knowable from one to another…or if we each speak a slightly different language and a vital part of every person’s thoughts and feelings are lost in translation. I don’t know if I ever found, or ever would have, Something Important to say. But I’ve learned a lot, and the more I learned the better I felt. It wasn’t always a smooth trip, but it was generally a positive one.

And for that, I want to thank all of you. You helped make me a better person, for myself and for my family. I don’t know of a greater gift that anyone could give another than that, short of life and love…the acceptance, the welcoming, the feeling that there were people out there saying “I don’t know you, but I would like to.” And in its own way, that’s a sort of love in and of itself, isn’t it?

There are many of us out there, looking to be known to each other. I think we can fumble our way towards each other somehow if only we refuse to give up and close ourselves off. So whatever else happens, I try to keep an open heart, and I think the world would be a better place if I could be successful…if we could all be successful…if we could love each other, and permit ourselves to be loved in turn. It’s something I’ve been afraid of all my life, that I’ve known was completely and utterly stupid in some ways to fear but feared anyway.

So I guess the most important thing I have to say, the culmination of my life’s experience, is that the only thing worth doing is loving yourself, allowing yourself to be loved, and opening your heart to loving others.  That always comes with risks and pitfalls, of course.  You’re only ever safe in loving a thing rather than a person.  And hell, maybe the thing will outlive you and every other person you know.  But that thing can’t love you back, and that thing can’t turn around and, filled with your love, spread love to someone else in turn.  Only another human being can do that.  And I’m not talking about a Significant Other per se…I’m talking about anyone.  A lover, a friend, a child, a parent, an old fellow on a park bench.  Who it is doesn’t matter, as long as you can learn to love each other.

When we’re gone, that’s the only thing that will matter.  Not our accomplishments on paper in an obituary, not a slab of marble or a little urn.  It’s the ripples in the pond that we create when we love someone, who loves someone else, who loves someone else.  That’s the only thing of importance that will survive us.

I guess I’m thankful that I’ve been able to learn this…not just read it on a page, but to learn it, internalize it, and know it…and that I have this little forum and the ability to pass it on.

So, thanks for taking the time to read this in and amongst all of the other bullshit I throw around to amuse myself.  Thanks for, in your own way, giving me a little bit of love from time to time.  And I hope you don’t take it the wrong way when I say I love all of y’all a little bit too.  Because that’s what’s important, when it all comes down.

Now, hell, since I’m doing this while I’m still as healthy as a balding and overweight horse, y’all still have the chance to snark away at me while I do it!  And please do…the other thing I’ve learned about life is that it’s 100% fatal, and if you can’t have a sense of humor about that, then you’re already dead.  So whatever else happens, never take yourself too seriously.  I don’t!

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6 Responses

  1. Taking your last directions rather than commenting in all seriousness, which I may do later if my fellow commenters put me to shame with their thoughtful remarks.

    I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadow
    If I fail, if I succeed
    At least I’ll live as I believe
    No matter what they take from me
    They can’t take away my dignity
    Because the greatest love of all
    Is happening to me

    I found the greatest love of all
    Inside of me
    The greatest love of all
    Is easy to achieve
    Learning to love yourself
    It is the greatest love of all

    Hehehehe, perfection!! Even though I must now kill someone to get that song out of my head. You’ll do. C’mere.

    I had the urge to start things off by commenting to myself “Somebody accidentally found the tab of Ecstasy in the aspirin bottle, didn’t they?” [Six Feet Under joke]

    Of course, it’s obvious that someone like me…okay, that’s chickenshit, ME PRECISELY…would want to use humor to deflect serious talk about “I love ya” stuff because it’s uncomfortable. But really, I’m not averse to talking seriously about this even if it is (and partially precisely because it is) uncomfortable.

    But I really and truly believe the you always need a sense of humor part, too. And I ain’t never gonna be above no snarkin’. 😀

  2. For what it’s worth, I think you have plenty of Something Important’s to say. 😛

    And yeah, if I am anything to go by- you should always try to live each day like it could be your last. I definitely don’t succeed on that count most days myself- but it’s still a good idea!! You never, ever know what is around the next corner.

    I’ve really enjoyed learning to blog- as much for the friends I’ve made and am still making along the way. You guys have made me laugh, cry, think (oh GOD the thinking!!!) and get more out of life every day.

    Thanks, TB! Have a great Thanksgiving!

    I think we all know that in theory we should live like it’s our last day…but then we’d all get evicted, huh?

    I just keep tryin’. That’s good enough, I guess.

  3. ‘I’d like to tech the world to sing…’

    That’s what I heard as background music while reading your entry. 😉

    I started mu online journal as cheap therapy too after I lost my Mom. I never really cared if I had readers. For a very long time Laura was the only person who knew about it.but now I really enjoy the interaction with others, like yourself, that I’ve encountered along the way.

    That’s just good verbal lovin’. 😉

    Damn it, that’s TWO of you that have inserted an earwig into the comments on this post!! And a visual of kids with candles. Shit-fire.

    Bah. Thanks for teh luv. 🙂

  4. I’d just give you a hug and squeeze your ass…if you we lucky!

    We can all take ourselves too seriously sometimes and not seriously enough the rest. I talk a mean game about being bitter and angry most of the time but we are looking for the same things. To love and to be loved.

    The trouble is something so simple is so hard to achieve and to do that we have to expose out soft underbellies.

    I’d like to picture The Happy Gilmore scene with “Chubs” playing piano with both hands while singing “Feelings”, the little person riding the golf club and a woman carrying two full 60 oz. pitchers beer in the background while you speak…sorry!

    Hah, that’s an excellent visual! Especially the chick in the French maid outfit with the beer. Mmm.

  5. MTAE, that is an AWESOME connection. I’ve never understood the little person part of that fantasy, but I’ve always loved the pretty girl with huge pitchers of beer in nice lingerie part of it.

    In all seriousness, I feel the same warm fuzzy feelings about all the new blogfriends I’ve made this year. Love y’all, especially you, TB, for going on and writing it. Happy Thanksgiving!

    [Elvis]Wuhlthankyaver’much.[/Elvis]

  6. Sorry…the song is in “We’ve Only Just Begun.”

    Forgive me…

    I thought it was a different song, but I couldn’t remember what! I was like, “Ebony and Ivory? No…”

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