A re-write of “The Lightening Storm and the Hurricane” (SATURDAY, JULY 12, 2008)
“Live each day like it is your last.”
This particular saying both inspires and discourages me. Several months after my best friend, Amanda, passed away, I can look back on her life and see how different she was from everyone I have ever known. I always knew she was unique. Cut from a different cloth. But she differed greatly from the rest of the World.
While Amanda sought to fulfill her life’s meaning – to be a writer – most people seem to be directionless, although their careers might be on steady, forward-moving paths. While she calmly sought out life’s beauty through her poetry and photography, most people I know do not truly see the World around them. They walk by, day-by-day, and do not see what surrounds them. They do not see the little things in life that inspired her to start a new poem or to pick up her camera.
My friend, Eric and I were talking on the phone and we started discussing the subject of mortality and finding meaning in life. Perhaps the thing that differs greatly between Amanda and the rest of the Human Population is that she had a purpose, no matter how short she knew her time was on this Earth, and she did everything in her power to bring herself closer to her purpose, which was to write books of poetry and short stories, continue with her photography and start a literary journal (with Kristen and me,) as well a myriad of other things she did that enriched that life purpose.
Perhaps most souls do not truly grasp what their meaning on Earth is about. Perhaps they see only their own expiration dates – like Amanda did – but they do not have the strength or ability or power to focus. Instead, there are so many people that are like a hurricanes with no quiet center. No moment of peace.
On the positive side, I agree that each day should not be wasted. Each day should hold something unique and powerful in its arms, making it a “worthwhile” day, making it a day to remember; a day that can be looked back on with having a sense of meaning. Each day should be lived to its fullest. Each person should make each second, moment, minute, hour and day a priority.
Our lives are filled with memories. Good and bad ones. However, life is not solely about knowing exactly who we are or what you want when you are ten and then spending our lives trying to accomplish those particular things. How boring would that be? I want to be a writer. So all my life is spent focused solely on that, without any freedom to discover new things that will probably enrich my life and my craft? If I limited myself to being solely a filmmaker, then I would never have enriched my life as an artist or a photographer.
From the moment we take our first breathe and scream at the tops of our tiny infantile lungs, we are learning, changing, growing and developing as human beings. From 8 lbs to 130 lbs, we are constantly evolving. We are also dying. However, we constantly discover – on a day to day, minute to minute, basis – what we truly want and need to enrich our lives. From the moment we take our first breathe and our umbilical cord is cut, we are on man’s search for meaning.
My search for meaning has truly evolved over the last twenty-nine years as I learn to try to not to be held down by memories that I don’t think I can top or compete with. My childhood (overseas and in America) was pretty impressively vivid. There was a point in my life (which occasionally rears it’s doubting head) where my memories have made me feel like I will never do anything that would remotely compare to the splendor that was the past; however, I have found in learning from my past that I allow myself to live life to the fullest every day, because I concentrate on the present as I try to do things that enrich my future.
I cannot compare my adult life in Los Angeles to a childhood that sounds more like a novel than reality. If I did, I would be depressed and then I would never look forward into the future with hope and desire… Our lives feel like Lightening Storms. Especially in Los Angeles. Especially when you are genuinely sick. We have electricity surging down from the sky, cracking through the air and scorching the ground. Like a Hurricane, the winds are taking up our skirts and our hair and making it hard to not only walk, run or move, but makes it nearly impossible to SEE. But even in midst of the Storm, we have to keep our mind on what direction we really want to go.