Living a Great Life, From a Dying Man

Living a Great Life, From a Dying Man

Some books are truly timeless, as they apply just as much today as when they were written. Such is the book, Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom. Having just finished this book with my parent book clubs and had such amazing, stimulating and uplifting discussions around this life-affirming book, I feel moved to impart some of his ideas that are perhaps even more important in today’s society. For as we are advancing in our technology and media, we are regressing in our humanism and connections, and losing much of what is valuable to our essence as people. Our quality of life is souring and falling.

Morrie is dying of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). “Do I wither up and disappear, or do I make the best of my time left?” As the author writes, “He would not wither. He would not be ashamed of dying. Instead, he would make death his final project. “ And so we are engaged in a profound, yet simple read of life lessons as openly shared in weekly discussions with his college student, Mitch Albom.

Here’s to ‘Morrieisms’ as I call them – ideas and quotes from a man who found the keys to happiness and a well-lived life; what we all want and strive for.

1. Living funeral – Why wait until someone dies to pay tribute to them. “What a waste; all those people saying all those wonderful things, and Irv never got to hear any of it.” And so Morrie had a living funeral where he called on his close friends and family to join him so he could be a part of the laughing and crying as the eulogies were spoken to him.
What important words can we shower our loved ones with now while they can hear them and know how their lives matter to us?

2. Mindfulness and attention (he did not use the term ‘mindfulness’) – “I believe in being fully present. That means you should be with the person you’re with. When I’m talking to you now, Mitch, I try to keep focused only on what is going on between us. I am not thinking about something we said last week. I am not thinking of what’s coming up on Friday. I am not thinking about…..what medications I’m taking. I am talking to you. I am thinking about you.”
Does this bring to mind anything of today’s world? Are we with the person in front of us when we’re with our smart phone?? What would Morrie say about that? I think he would be aghast at how we pay more attention to our screens than to each other.

3. Hurry up and run – “Part of the problem is that everyone is in such a hurry. People haven’t found meaning in their lives, so they’re running all the time looking for it. They think the next car, the next house, the next job. Then they find those things are empty, too, and they keep running.”

4. Meaning – “So many people walk around walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they are chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”
Do we take the time to embrace and engage in what truly matters to us? Do we give it our time and attention?

5. Satisfaction – “There’s a big confusion in this country over what we want versus what we need. You need food, you want a chocolate sundae. You have to be honest with yourself. You don’t need the latest sports car, you don’t need the biggest house. The truth is you don’t get satisfaction from those things. You know what really gives you satisfaction? Offering others what you have to give.”
What do we have to offer others? Our time, our ear, our talents, our service, our compassion…..

6. Love – “As long as we can love each other, and remember the feeling of love we had, we can die without ever really going away. All the love you created is still there. All the memories are still there. You live on- in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here. Death ends a life, not a relationship.”

7. Number one?? “What’s wrong with being number two?” Mull this one over. Are we nothing if we’re not number one?

8. Culture – “Dying is only one thing to be sad over. Living unhappily is something else. So many of the people who come to visit me are unhappy… The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. We’re teaching the wrong things. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. Create your own. Most people can’t do it. They’re more unhappy than me – even in my current condition.”

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you got at least one great take-away from this. Would love to read your thoughts on this.


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