A few weeks ago my dad and I were holed up in a Central American hotel, waiting to testify in regards to a decade long court case that I have been involved in (a story for another day).
As if the thought of taking another bullet-proof vehicle to a courthouse wasn’t weighing on me enough, a few days into the trip, my dad tested how strong the thread was that was holding me together, by sitting me down, and telling me that my mom, his wife, has cancer (we would find out later that week it should be “easily” treatable).
Between meetings with lawyers, and breakfasts full of coffee strong enough to make me question the need for cocaine, my dad and I sat together in thoughtful silence, only occasionally breaking the air to talk about life and what it takes to lead a meaningful one.
I am still trying to get my head around the majority of the thoughts my dad shared, but I wanted to pass on one of the things he said during our time together that stopped me cold.
“The saddest part about getting older for me is seeing just how intellectually dead some of my old friends have chosen to become.”
Sadder words do not exist.
He went on to compare their conversations to that of “Groundhog’s Day,” where Monday looks a hellavu lot like Tuesday. It’s as if the day Cal Ripken retired from baseball, some of his friends retired from life —leaving their thoughts frozen in time, only to be brought out of the freezer once a year over a shitty cup of coffee in a truck stop in southeastern Ohio.
When he said this I could feel the pain in his voice, and his desire to want to shake his old friends into realizing despite getting older, they still had life in them — if only they could muster up the courage to breathe it in.
Despite not seeing eye to eye on most things, I have never felt closer to my dad than I did sitting together in that hotel room.
I finally understood why on more than one occasion he got frustrated with me because I gave more power to my excuses than my possibilities.
After all — life is to be pursued.
I finally understood why on more than one occasion he got frustrated with me for feeling so sorry for myself I neglected all the good I had around me.
After all — life is to be appreciated.
I finally understood why on more than one occasion he got frustrated with me for choosing the sofa over the world.
After all — life is to be lived.
Life is not about being the smartest person in the room, or the fastest, or the strongest.
Life is about walking through the door and adding to the conversation.
Life is about learning a new something, seeing a new somewhere, and meeting a new someone.
Life. Is. About. Staying. Intellectually. Alive.
L.I.A.S.I.A. — It’s French and it means get off your ass and keep your brain moving.