I See Dead People

DigFrameI have a digital picture frame in my office containing pictures that go all the way back to my first camera over 40 years ago. As those pictures go by I see a lot of dead people. Ghosts. Memories.

They all had dreams and aspirations at one point. Some achieved, but many discarded in favor of other things deemed more important. Life became a grind of routines for most of them, because life has a way of clinging to us and bogging us down over time. We can wind up ‘dead’ many years before our bodies finally stop functioning. We aren’t ‘unhappy’ per se, but an underlying feeling of discontent flickering in the back our our minds tells us we took the easy/safe way out enough times that it triggers a dull feeling we gave something up. Potential unreached.

What could have been? Most of those in my photos got used to it. Accepted it. And maybe even eventually forgot what it felt like to think about living life to the fullest. But somewhere in the background they knew…

Can you recall an old person wishing s/he had taken fewer risks in life?

Each picture that goes by has dead people in it soon enough. Too soon. When is it too late to make changes and start?

Steve Jobs said it best…

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

13 Responses to “I See Dead People”

  1. 1 Vivian March 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Wow! So many thoughts especially today.

    I think maybe it is a rare person who determines at an early age what dreams and goals to pursue. For most of us, it is more likely we become ensnared in obligations and responsibilities before we realize that we missed out on defining what and who we want to be. Even if, at some point, there is an opportunity to follow a particular path, the opportunity may be limited in length and scope due to the circumstances of other people who are important to us. Do we give our obligations to someone else lightly in order to indulge in a way or life or a path that otherwise is not available? Do we end relationships if the other party is not supportive? Sure, people do that. They leave behind family and friends but at what loss? When is the desire/need to do something else greater than the relationships that might need to be abandoned in order to do it? Is there a sense of loss? Most certainly there is regardless of which path is taken. Do we try to substitute somethings for what we feel we missed? Most assuredly. Long vacations to the places where we really wanted to live? Living those adventures through other peoples stories and pictures?

    Discontent and general unhappiness can be underlying even when the path of life is accepted. A resentment for being “stuck” can influence relationships, behavior and even health.

    Feelings of wasting life/opportunities can lead to depression and suicide unless the person is strong and able to rationally put together all the positives that were found in place of the things that were lost.

    Sorry for the rambling…

  2. 2 David Stewart March 12, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Yes, so many thoughts. It would be easy to wallow in them. This is my attempt to recognize (some of) them while trying to move on. Because what can we do but move on?

    There are no clear answers to your questions. Steve says follow your heart. But for me heart and mind don’t always present a clear picture. Ultimately you simply have to decide, and then live with the consequences. But along the way we each have to determine whether we’re taking a course governed by fear, or if we’re making a well grounded decision to choose A over B, because A really is what we truly want the most. Too often we let fear squelch the inner voice telling us what would make us happy. In those cases we are seeking safety and security more than happiness, which can return to bite us. It’s important to recognize that safety and security feel like happiness in some ways (future post here). Really it is comfort disguised as happiness. Both conditions are relatively volatile, and thus begets the feeling of wanting to retreat to safety.

    Not sure if any of that make sense…

  3. 3 oakley outlet March 25, 2013 at 5:05 am

    Good respond in return of this issue with real arguments and telling the whole thing on the topic of that.

  4. 4 David Stewart March 25, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Nothing like a non sequitur (spam) comment to add a little levity to a pretty heavy subject. I think I’ll leave it in in case anyone should decide they need some sunglasses…

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