“2. Live as if your time is limited”

My 50th high school reunion is this August. I’ve got my dress and a room at a B&B to share with my friend Claire, who lives in San Francisco.

I’m looking forward to seeing my friends, but Todd won’t be there because he died a month ago. Todd had cancer and his doctors gave him four months to live. They were exactly right.

On a peony festival excursion with a friend, I checked my email one night before bed. That’s usually not a good idea. There was a one-sentence email from Claire:

“Did you hear that Laurie Eldridge died?”

Laurie was the person in high school who was friends with everyone—the jocks, the nerds, the stoners. She happily interacted with every subculture and was welcomed by all.

According to her obituary, she had a “short but courageous battle with cancer.”

If I ever needed a reminder that my time is limited, I got it.

The lessons from the oldest old, collected by John Lelund, still hang on the wall above where I eat every meal:

  1. Don’t brood about things out of reach.
  2. Live as if your time is limited.
  3. Focus on the people you care about.
  4. Enjoy the pleasures near at hand.

Two nights ago, I couldn’t sleep, and decided to remember memorable kisses. One was with a young man who was 21 when I was  24. “Whatever happened to him?”

He died in March.

On the plus side, women on my mom’s side of the family live a long time, and I expect to as well. But no matter how long we live, the lessons from the oldest old—all the lessons—still apply.

Chewing the Cud of Good

Closeup of interior petals of a coral peony

Thankful for the gorgeous weather we had all week long.



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