Tripping the Life Fantastic

In A Sedentary View, Columns, Features by Gregory Banks

I wonder just how many people, when they reach their final years and begin to reflect upon their lives, mourn the precious time they wasted pursuing materialistic goals that the world tells us we should care about, but in the end we discover barely matter?

A couple of weeks ago a cousin of mine took ill. She was hospitalized, and soon after diagnosed with Leukemia. In less than two weeks she was dead.

Stunned doesn’t even begin to describe my family’s reaction. She was older than me, in her early 60’s, but she was not someone whom you thought of whenever the word “sick” came up.

She was an active stepmother and step-grandmother, and was taking care of a husband who was going through a health crisis of his own. She was the one keeping everyone else together, the caretaker, the stabilizing force. How could someone so prevalent be gone in the veritable blink of an eye?

I never question God, or mother nature, or the random course of the universe (however you may wish to see it), because I know that these things happen beyond our control or understanding.

I also believe, as a person of faith, as they say, that any mourning that we do should be for our loss of a great person, not for the person who I believe has gone on to a higher calling and purpose. But what I don’t understand is why do we so undervalue and under-appreciate life itself?

Why do we whittle away our lifetimes toiling under a materialistic social structure that leads to such things as hatred, greed, and even war?

What makes it so difficult for we human beings to show compassion and love for one another, to understand that we are all in this thing called life together, and that we are far stronger and wealthier when we are united as one?

So much focus is placed on the plight of the disadvantaged, like the poor and disabled. Although they do face challenges that most “able-bodied” and/or wealthy people will never understand, in many instances they themselves face just as many emotional problems as their supposedly less fortunate counterparts.

What good is wealth, or power, or strong, healthy bodies, if it brings you no greater contentment than anyone else? How can those who “have it all” still lack so much? Where are we as a society going wrong?

I watched the movie “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” the other day, which is based on the book of the same name by the late author, Douglas Adams.

In it, the main characters, each for their own reasons, are seeking the ultimate answer concerning “life, the universe, and everything.” Turns out that after millions of years of calculations by a planetary sized computer called “Earth,” the answer proved very simple, the number 42. The problem is that no one knew what question was asked to lead to this answer. Therefore the secrets to the universe remained unknown.

I wish I knew the answer to all the questions I’ve raised above. Many of us speculate on them, which is the most fun aspect for me as a writer. But joy should be something easily obtained.

So now I wonder if the ultimate answer is so obscure that we cannot see it, or if the ultimate question is just so simple that no one would ever think to ask it?

All I do know is that life is quickly passing me by even as I type this, and from now on, I’m going to do my best to appreciate every second of it. I hope that those of you out there who don’t think life is worth living, or feel that there’s nothing good left in the world, will stop and take a little time to trip the life fantastic.

Enjoy what is, and stop worrying about what could or should be. Those things will happen when and if they are meant to be. It doesn’t matter how glorious, terrifying, or nonexistent the so-called afterlife may be.

Because in the end, nothing’s more beautiful than the here and now.

How do you live your life? Email us and let us know.