When I was 17 I went to drama school. There was this ethereal, gentle boy with a goofy laugh who went also. I thought he was ah-may-zing in that special teenage way.
I had such a crush on this boy, but he fancied my ethereal, gentle friend. I am many things but I doubt I’ve ever been called ethereal.
I drunkenly propositioned him one night, but he was a true gentleman. I was a bit bruised but I got over it as 17 year olds with unrequited crushes do.
Many years later, he started working at the restaurant I worked at. We never became close again, not like drama school where the constant revealing of layers of yourself gives everyone instant bonds, but we were friendly enough.
He was in the cool gang, they were models, musos and muses…and I was just me. A slightly awks, left of centre, big mouth.
His name was Marco, and he was always nice to me with an easy smile and dark eyes. He moved to L.A., married his goddess, and planned for a beautiful life…… Except he recently got diagnosed with aggressive bone cancer.
When I found out, via Facebook – the chronicle of our times, I was inexplicably affected. I don’t even know him anymore, I hadn’t even thought of him in years.
Was it because I once tried to kiss him, or just because we’re a very similar age?
Who knows why, but I wasn’t able to get him out of my mind as he took his final breaths as an earthling just a couple of days ago.
I interviewed someone recently who was dying of Stage 3 Melanoma.
She said for a time after her dire prognosis she tried to live every day as if it was her last, but that was so exhausting. It was impractical and more than anything as the sands of living slipped through her hourglass she just wanted to be normal.
I’m not going to suggest that we all start living as if every day were our last when most of the time we’re just trying to survive the urban jungle until bedtime.
But I think this death of a man I once longed to pash has made me think a little deeper about living.
I suggest something that is better than living each day as if it’s your last. I suggest living each day as your best self.
We don’t usually have time to plough our way through a bucket list and jump from planes and waterfalls while we’re busily paying the mortgage and buying tampons and Happy Cow at the supermarket, so just be a good person while you do the mundane.
Be kind. Be thoughtful.
Give more than you take, and try to let go of ego. Help others, lift others up; it makes you feel surprisingly good too.
If you can be humble and live with integrity every day then although you may never tick everything off your bucket list at least you will be living a kind of life that you can look back on and know you were your best self.
Let go of anger, call a friend and forgive some slight because carrying on feuds is pointless. Sure, someone did something to really tick you off, or maybe you were a jerk, but is it really worth holding on to? What for?
I read yesterday that one of the top 5 regrets of the dying is not staying in touch with friends.
They also regretted working so hard.
When I had my recent breast lump scare while I waiting for the results I vowed to work less and take better care of myself. So far, I’ve reneged on that bargain I made with the Universe, but I’m working on finding balance.
The dying also wished that they had the courage to live the life that they wanted instead of the life they were expected to live.
Marco was diagnosed only recently, and he faded from his loved ones lives very suddenly and he will leave a Marco shaped hole forever. If you left a hole, what would you want people to think when they felt it?
I would want people to feel joy at the fact that they knew me. I would want people to smile and maybe shake their head a little at some of my doofy antics when they remember me.
I’d want them to remember me as someone who danced to the beat of her own drum and wasn’t afraid to dance on the edge of the cliff. What would they remember about you?
I’m definitely very saddened by the passing of someone I no longer even really know, but I know that that gentle man has left a hole that makes people smile through their tears.
I don’t know if he lived as his best self. But in my head and my heart I know that he inspired these thoughts for me and how I want to live mine.