I had a very good day today. It was very long and a bit exhausting, but it was good. A large portion of my family went on a day trip to Warm Springs Ranch where Budweiser breeds and raises some of their Clydesdale horses. My mom and I were fools, as is our usual, during the drive in the back of my grandparents’ van, but we truly enjoy each other’s company. And, isn’t that what family time is about? Enjoying the very presence of each other in the little time we have left on this earth? We never know how much time we have.
On the way home, the date occurred to me. It is the tenth of October. I’m not sure why I remember 10/10 as Kirsty MacColl’s birthday when I know so little else about her; but, in the few years since I’ve known about her story, this day always hits me hard. She would have been 56 today. She died almost 15 years ago, long before her song “In These Shoes” ever graced my ears. She was diving at a reef in Cozumel, Mexico with her sons. One of them was in the path of a speed boat. She was able to push him out of the way, but she died instantly. She was 41.
Yet at 41, just four years older than I am now, she’d already had a 20 year career in music. She had two sons. She gave her life protecting one of them. Her time on this planet was relatively short, but so incredibly valuable because she truly lived in her years. And she truly lived in the moment of her death, giving everything of herself for one she loved. Why does it hit me so hard that this person I never met and barely know anything about lived and died long before I ever heard of her? I’m not sure, but I just feel a connection with some people and some stories and hers is one.
Sometimes, I feel so late to the game of life. All the time I’ve wasted, or that has been wasted for me by pain and depression and other things that I couldn’t control, and I’m just starting now? How long do I have? How long do any of us have? We don’t know, so we should live fully in each day. Regardless of how late to the game I am, I’m living now.
Days like today, taking a day trip with the family or any time spent making memories, are precious to me. Being able to say at some point down the road “remember when…” instead of just trying to get through one more day of the same nothingness that all blurs together into one giant ball of regretful emptiness. Living fully isn’t about fame or fortune and it doesn’t have to be fancy or exciting, it just has to be us authentically being present with people we care about. It has to be sharing something of yourself and accepting what others have to share. I have as much fun with a redbox movie rental or a game of cards or Trivial Pursuit as these bigger adventures, as long as I’m with those I love. We can be goofy, we can be sentimental, we can be whatever strikes us at any given moment, as long as we’re present.