Live The Dash
At breakfast this morning, my BFF Steph and I were marveling at how kind and thoughtful the folks are here in the south, specifically Nashville and Huntsville since that is where my butt has sat for the past few days. I’m sure the rest of the south is equally kind. For instance, I know for a fact that the folks in my brother’s home state of Arkansas are top-notch, slap your mama, over-the-top nice.
Especially Billy. Billy is in a league all his own—but that is a story for another day. Suffice it to say, Billy has gotten me out of so many jams—technologically speaking, (and let’s be honest, are there any jams that are worse than a computer staring back at you with the black screen of death?) that I bought Billy a pony—on Amazon.
Anyway…Steph was relaying the story of her seat mate on the flight into Huntsville yesterday.
He was your standard issue, middle-aged guy, who’s been commuting from the state where he’d been transferred, back and forth to Alabama where his wife and daughter have stayed put until she finishes her senior year of high school.
In my tribe, we’ve been talking a lot lately about mindfulness—conscious living.
Why we want the things we want.
What are our expectations?
What do we hope to gain?
Will this decision add to my quality of life—or detract from it?
You know, all of those questions that make us formerly impulsive Bohemian types cringy and squirmy.
We have entered the phase of life where the opening line when you talk to God has changed from “Dear Lord, please give me what I want—to, Dear Wise One, please show me what I need.”
The man on Steph’s flight was coming back to be present at his daughter’s senior prom. The decision was easy for him as he explained, “You know those dates on headstones and the top of obituaries? The date of birth, then a dash and the date they died?” Steph nodded.
“In my family, we’ve decided to ”live the dash. To figure out what makes us happy between those two dates—and just go for it!”
I sat back in my chair for a minute taking that all in.
Don’t you fucking love that?
I never thought about mindful living quite that way before, but he’s right! There are a finite amount of years that fit inside the dash. How we fill that space is our choice. We can live unconsciously, (which to most of us means fearfully, cautiously), reacting to circumstances that seem beyond our control.
We can take the reins and live the dash. Filling the space between those dates with love and happiness.
I choose the latter, don’t you?