In continuation of my 31 days of randomness – Day 6. Personal Inspiration – Celebrating life
This inspiration actually came from an idea I had years ago. Before my mom passed away the one thing she said that really stayed in my head was that she did in fact make many mistakes but could not go back and change anything so she just decided to go on and live her life as fully and completely as she could.
After my mom died I proposed to some friends and some family members that I wanted to begin an annual “Just in case.. you aren’t there the next year” party and instead of having a somber memorial service we would celebrate our lives and triumphs while we were there to appreciate our accomplishments and each other. Well…. no one liked the idea because they felt it was morbid and possibly could bring about bad luck. I sort of gave up on the idea of an annual party but have been actively seeking ways to celebrate the life I have.
Recently I ran across the following obituary. It reminded me of my “brilliant” idea of hosting annual “just in case” parties.
1953 – 2012
I was Born in Salt Lake City, March 27th 1953. I died of Throat Cancer on July 10th 2012. I went to six different grade schools, then to Churchill, Skyline and the U of U. I loved school, Salt Lake City, the mountains, Utah. I was a true Scientist. Electronics, chemistry, physics, auto mechanic, wood worker, artist, inventor, business man, ribald comedian, husband, brother, son, cat lover, cynic. I had a lot of fun. It was an honor for me to be friends with some truly great people. I thank you. I’ve had great joy living and playing with my dog, my cats and my parrot. But, the one special thing that made my spirit whole, is my long love and friendship with my remarkable wife, my beloved Mary Jane. I loved her more than I have words to express. Every moment spent with my Mary Jane was time spent wisely. Over time, I became one with her, inseparable, happy, fulfilled. I enjoyed one good life. Traveled to every place on earth that I ever wanted to go. Had every job that I wanted to have. Learned all that I wanted to learn. Fixed everything I wanted to fix. Eaten everything I wanted to eat. My life motto was: “Anything for a Laugh”. Other mottos were “If you can break it, I can fix it”, “Don’t apply for a job, create one”. I had three requirements for seeking a great job; 1 – All glory, 2 – Top pay, 3 – No work.
Now that I have gone to my reward, I have confessions and things I should now say. As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June, 1971. I could have left that unsaid, but I wanted to get it off my chest. Also, I really am NOT a PhD. What happened was that the day I went to pay off my college student loan at the U of U, the girl working there put my receipt into the wrong stack, and two weeks later, a PhD diploma came in the mail. I didn’t even graduate, I only had about 3 years of college credit. In fact, I never did even learn what the letters “PhD” even stood for. For all of the Electronic Engineers I have worked with, I’m sorry, but you have to admit my designs always worked very well, and were well engineered, and I always made you laugh at work. Now to that really mean Park Ranger; after all, it was me that rolled those rocks into your geyser and ruined it. I did notice a few years later that you did get Old Faithful working again. To Disneyland – you can now throw away that “Banned for Life” file you have on me, I’m not a problem anymore – and SeaWorld San Diego, too, if you read this.
To the gang: We grew up in the very best time to grow up in the history of America. The best music, muscle cars, cheap gas, fun kegs, buying a car for “a buck a year” – before Salt Lake got ruined by over population and Lake Powell was brand new. TV was boring back then, so we went outside and actually had lives. We always tried to have as much fun as possible without doing harm to anybody – we did a good job at that.
If you are trying to decide if you knew me, this might help… My father was RD “Dale” Patterson, older brother “Stan” Patterson, and sister “Bunny” who died in a terrible car wreck when she was a Junior at Skyline. My mom “Ona” and brother “Don” are still alive and well. In college I worked at Vaughns Conoco on 45th South and 29th East. Mary and I are the ones who worked in Saudi Arabia for 8 years when we were young. Mary Jane is now a Fitness Instructor at Golds on Van Winkle – you might be one of her students – see what a lucky guy I am? Yeah, no kidding.
My regret is that I felt invincible when young and smoked cigarettes when I knew they were bad for me. Now, to make it worse, I have robbed my beloved Mary Jane of a decade or more of the two of us growing old together and laughing at all the thousands of simple things that we have come to enjoy and fill our lives with such happy words and moments. My pain is enormous, but it pales in comparison to watching my wife feel my pain as she lovingly cares for and comforts me. I feel such the “thief” now – for stealing so much from her – there is no pill I can take to erase that pain.
If you knew me or not, dear reader, I am happy you got this far into my letter. I speak as a person who had a great life to look back on. My family is following my wishes that I not have a funeral or burial. If you knew me, remember me in your own way. If you want to live forever, then don’t stop breathing, like I did.
Though I do not believe that my “just in case” party idea will ever take off. I do really try to embrace life and attempt things I never thought I would do. Each thing I do actually inspires me to do more things that eventually inspire me to do more things. My previous post “Extreme Simplicity” shows some of the things I have attempted and accomplished in the past couple of years. I’m constantly looking for new ways to celebrate life and my personal inspiration today is to really write some ideas down and just do them. Take some chances and do some things you never thought you would do. You really never know where it might lead you. Currently accepting ideas..
This all started from a random site I found called thenester.com. Apparently there is a group of people who have committed to posting a topic a day for 31 days. 31 Dayers 2012
- 31 Days of Randomness- Personal Inspiration 3 (rfljenksy.wordpress.com)
- Celebrating a Life (anexerciseindiscipline.wordpress.com)
- 31 Days of Randomness- Personal Inspiration (rfljenksy.wordpress.com)
- Self-Written Obituaries Give Last Word (abcnews.go.com)
This is an incredible, thoughtful post. I’m sorry your Just in Case parties didn’t work out, I think they’re a great idea myself. But, you’ve moved on and are doing it your way. Maybe that’s better.
Well, I do still have them, it’s just that I don’t advertise them as such!!
I love this idea–we have formed a ‘sad sacs’ group! It seems our group of friends have all had a couple of really bad years-worse than what I consider normal: our daughter died; one friend survived a propane tank explosion that burned him over 70% of his body and then got cancer; another friend’s dad (sufering from dementia) shot and killed his brother at their 4th of July party . . . the list goes on. So, we do just what you suggested–we get together every couple of weeks to CELEBRATE our lives, to prop each other up, to share successes. We only get one shot at this life–embrace it!
I love it.. I had a friend who would be-moan every birthday and one day I just asked her why she hated birthdays and she said she just hated getting older so I asked her what was the alternative.. She stopped complaining… I really love that you are doing what you are doing! Good for you.. It’s an example more people should follow!
Love your post. It seems to me that people are so afraid of thinking about their death that they can’t embrace life. Although I do believe in planning for the future, I also would like to live each day as if it were my last. I am with you on embracing life. And I think I will start writing my obit.
Instill need to do that! It’s the one hurdle I haven’t jumped!
What a lovely post… and that fellow WOW I would have loved to have met him! I think about living life to the fullest everyday, but a little thing called work always seems to get in the way. I guess that is what vacations are for… or finding the little joys in each day.
Exactly! On my worst days i try to find one good thing to celebrate!
I heard that once that even on your worst days there had to be some good… just trying to find it sometimes can be difficult!
I think it is always there it’s just that due to life we are sometimes too tired to bother with it… I’m sure my posts make it seem like I am always pretty positive and upbeat.. And these days I mostly am.. But even these days I sometimes have to really push through the frustration and annoyances to find it!
Yes I hear you… I have been struggling to be happy and upbeat lately too… the last year has been rough. Lots going on to drag me down. It is easy to get consumed by it all. Pushing through even when we are tired is hard, but I don’t want to be miserable. Being like that usually pushes those near and dear away from us…. sometimes I have to remember there could be worse things in life.
I find that sometimes a complete physical change of location has been the cure! I have been seriously blessed with the opportunities and abilities to make that happen in my life!
Yes I really think I should have left last year when my contract was up. I didn’t because promises were made, but then not followed through. 😦 I am finding it tough this year with more work and a new staff person who disagrees with everything I say. It is hard. BUT I have a lovely class and great blogging friends who cheer me up. 🙂
The same can happen in Korea so you do need to be careful. However all in all, great expat community and if you are good they treat you great!
Well right now anything sounds heavenly. Had a bad day yesterday and my frustration it at an all time high. Have barely slept… it is getting THAT bad. Worse because there is nothing I can do or say to change things. Feeling helpless is the worst.
Hey.. didn’t forget about you but couldn’t find the contact info.. it was in 2010. Here is a link to the last info I had. The guys name is Brad Brennan – http://teachenglishinkorea.org/index.php?option=com_contact&Itemid=3
Brad S. Brennan
440 N. Wabash Ave. #1607
Chicago, IL 60611
Hope this helps
Awesome! Thanks so much 🙂
No worries.. I hope it’s still a good contact.
Thanks again. I will try to email this weekend. Who should I say gave me the info? I don’t think I know your name (blush). I am Diana (or alias CTB) :D. You don’t know how much this has lifted my spirits!
Great. My name is Sam (Samantha Jenkins). If this person can’t. Be contacted I still have connections over there I can send you. I loved my time there as did my daughters and we all miss it. Good luck!
Thanks Sam. I am Diana 🙂 I have had an insane weekend and had to re-do work I already had done (long story) so I haven’t had a chance to email. Just got in from work at 6PM. YAWN. I am hoping this week to get a minute to send off an email. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks again.
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