Thursday, February 08, 2007

What we leave behind

When I first heard about Anna Nicole, I didn't believe it. Then I read the story on google news. She had become a laughingstock in recent years, the butt of a thousand jokes. But when I read she had died, I was only sad.

I sent the link to a friend. She wrote back, "Have no idea why that makes me sad."

I replied, "Me too. What a sad, tragic, short, wasted life :("

Then almost before I hit send, I questioned my statement. Was it a wasted life? After all, she was a model, an actress, had her own reality show, and married a billionaire. I haven't come close to doing any of those things. Maybe she had the full life, and I'm the one with the wasted life.

If I never become a writer, will my life have been wasted? If I never have children, or never get married?

What constitutes a wasted life? Or for that matter, what constitutes a wasted day? Or a wasted hour? I can't answer that. I guess everyone's answer would be different. And perhaps that's the way it should be.

Is it about finding happiness and contentment? Experiencing as many new and fun things as possible? Or making a difference, making the world a better place? Even typing that, I already know what I think most important. So why am I not doing it?

If I sit home tonight and cook dinner and watch The Office on TV, is that a wasted night? I mean, it's something I enjoy. But should I be doing something more productive? Something to better myself or something beneficial to society?

Traveling Chica wrote a post a few weeks ago about 'someday.' About how we make plans and always seem to think and behave as if we have plenty of time, when in reality, we may not. We're not guaranteed a certain number of years, or even another month, or week. All we have is today.

Yet knowing that, why don't I value each second as the priceless commodity it is? Why do I often go weeks or months without talking to or seeing friends? Why do I find myself so many nights realizing it's 11:00 and wondering where the evening went and what I did with it?

The question isn't will I die? But rather, will I live?

I was talking to another friend about Anna Nicole later in the afternoon. She posed the question, "Do you think she was ever happy?"

Of course, there's no way I could ever know the answer to that. But even the thought that she, or anyone, might never have been happy deeply saddened me. To the point that I changed the subject, not wanting to think about it anymore.

When I die, I don't care so much if other people say or think, "what a wasted life." As long as I don't agree.

"They said she died easy of a broken heart disease. I listened thru the cemetery trees..."

43 comments:

  1. Elie Wiesel said " . . .the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference . . .".

    You, sir, are not indifferent. And I find that amazing and comforting. Thank you for reminding us that we, too, should not be indifferent. We should be grateful for the things we have and remember to live each day to the fullest.

    This: The question isn't will I die? But rather, will I live? moved me most of all. The fact that you even asked that question proved that you WILL live. And that you already are living.

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  2. "The question isn't will I die? But rather, will I live?"

    Excellent question.

    You're right, we each define it differently. I think that too often we confuse "productive" with "useful" or "worthwhile." There is something to be said for finding enjoyment in the small details of life- the making of dinner, the watching of a favorite show.

    Death often shakes people from their slumbers. "Life is going on! Pay attention!," Death says. The beauty of it is- you get to decide how you live it and only you can say if you aren't living up to your potential, if you are, indeed, wasting it.

    And by the way, you are already a writer. A very good one at that. :)

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  3. Excellent post. I was really shocked by the news, too. Not knowing much about her, I can only feel that it's tragic that she didn't have more time.

    Actually, I've done lots of fretting about how I spend my time, and the fact that I always seem to be biding my time, preparing for--something else. And I wish my days away, since I get no joy out of my workdays. It's hard not to do.

    What constitues a wasted day? That's a good question, and I agree that it's a very personal one. I think we should all strive to be happy, since that is the first requirement in healthy relationships, and happiness is also a must for people who hope to help others.

    Again, great post! And I can't help thinking--I'm so glad that tomorrow's Friday:)

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  4. I often wonder not about what my life is now, but the legacy that I will leave behind.

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  5. OK. I left two comments and they didn't take. Even you Bone only get three chances.

    No you get more. Because you would make sure your comment took on my blog. Just who you are.

    Of all people I should feel mine is a wasted life if I were going to go by the usual markers: no successful marriage or any marriage with kids--no kids for me

    But plenty in my life.

    Our lives aren't measured by years of marriage, how many children we have and what businesses they own or how successful they are when we die.

    My Mom used to talk about all the women she knew who would brag about their super-successful sons and daughters.

    But were they there when their Moms were old? No, they were too busy leading their super-successful lives. I'm talking major holidays here---Thanksgiving


    You said this:
    "When I die, I don't care so much if other people say or think, "what a wasted life." As long as I don't agree."

    You know what is important and what's not.

    You know that it's not job title or amount of money you make.

    And in that sorta unassuming way of yours you say so much and raise important subjects--here.

    There are times when you act the thirteen year old and that's needed also.

    You're busy living Bone even when you watch The Office

    You feel. Feeling is what life's all about

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  6. I had no idea this happened till a few minutes ago when I turned on my computer. I was flabbergasted. It is sad. What I find most sad is that she just lost her son, just had a baby and got married.

    A life well lived, to me, is determined by your own happiness. That varies from one person to another. If you leave this world with regrets, it's your own dumb fault.

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  7. I have so much to say to this post that I don't know where to begin... or if I want to. I mean, honestly, my "comment" could be as long (honesty, TC, honesty: longer) than your actual post.

    If I sit home tonight and cook dinner and watch The Office on TV, is that a wasted night? I mean, it's something I enjoy.

    Someone once told me that it's not considered time wasted if you enjoyed what you were doing.

    Some nights, I really want to sit at home and read a book. I love reading.

    Some nights, I want to go out and laugh with my friends. I love my friends (most of the time anyway...), and almost always feel like we don't get enough time together.

    There are people who believe vacation days are only meant for taking exotic trips... and I'll admit to being one of them once upon a time.

    I still love to travel, but you won't see me hesitating to take a vacation day to spend hanging out with my nephew... because I've done it. We spent the day watching Sesame Street and visiting the park: and it was every bit as precious to me (perhaps more so) than a trip to some faraway land.

    So no, I don't think it's considered a wasted evening if you enjoyed what you were doing.

    *hugs*

    Just because I'm a firm believer no one can ever get too many... :)

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  8. I want to say these have been some of the most wonderful comments I've ever received. Sometimes I'm not sure what to say in response, but thank you all.

    Elizabeth: Thanks for the kind words, although I'm not sure I'm worthy of them. I really like that quote. Thanks for sharing it.

    Sizzle: And by the way, you are already a writer. A very good one at that.

    Thank you. That means a great deal.

    Death does wake us out of a slumber. And then I always think to myself, OK, from this point on, things are gonna be different. But then I just fall back asleep all too quickly again.

    Actonbell: Thanks. I remember seemingly wishing days away, as you say, back in school, and at previous jobs. Why do we do that? I don't know.

    Eileen: I think just the fact that you wonder such a thing says a lot.

    Pia: With blogger, I now think it odd if I don't have to try at least twice to leave a comment :)

    I do feel family and friends are extremely important. I guess I just want to have an affect on a few people's lives.

    Thank you.

    Carnealian: I was shocked. Like I mentioned, I didn't believe it at first. It is sad.

    Traveling Chica: Love the part about your nephew. I would imagine that would be much more amazing and rewarding than any trip.

    *hugs*

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  9. Well, I don't know if her life was wasted, but it sure did seem like she spent a lot of her life wasted.. :)

    Sorry.. Here's everyone with their nice comments and here comes Burg to spew some sarcasm.. I really do feel sorry for her baby. Even if your mother can't string a full sentence together without slurring every word she's still your mother. I can't imagine my babies having to be without me.

    Anyway.. I agree with Chica, if you're enjoying your life, it's never wasted.

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  10. I think it's all in the eye of the, well, person...I mean, if you're happy, I think that's all that matters. But when I say happy, I mean truly happy. Not feeling like you're missing out on something. Not really waiting for someday....and when I put it like that I wonder if anyone is ever truly happy.
    It is sad though...her new baby will never know her, and has no siblings now to learn more from :-(

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  11. I think that if we can say that we were happy 85% of the time or better or maybe only 50% of the time being happy is enough then we have lived.
    I don't think that a night of staying home and watching your favorite show is wasted, if that's what you wanted to do and it makes you happy. But if you were sitting there eating a pint of ice cream and feeling miserable because you didn't go out with your friends...only then would it be wasted.
    There's some email thing going around the internet about how we're supposed to enjoy life and use up our bodies...not die in a well preserved body but slide into home yelling "WOO HOO"; but I think that if you want to live your life in a comfortable robe & well preserved body...then go for it...who am I to tell you how to live?

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  12. I wondered the very same thing when I heard the news yesterday: Why does this make me so sad? I truly feel that if you give everything of yourself to whatever the task is before you, you will never waste your life for you are put exactly where you are meant to be, to do what it is you are meant to do.

    Now if that comes across as fatalist or even as, dare I say, something Morpheus from The Matrix trilogy might say, you'll just have to grin and bear it for me. ;)

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  13. I would imagine that would be much more amazing and rewarding than any trip.

    Hugs and kisses from someone who loves me unconditionally versus standing in line with thousands of other tourists?

    Yeah, it's not much of a tough call for me to make. ;)

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  14. hm, if we are going to get on the topic of "is watching tv a wasted life", I could be in big trouble.

    I agree though, Eileen. What will people say about me when I pass???

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  15. Burg: That's OK. We probably needed something to lighten the mood. The fact she just had a child only adds to the sadness.

    Arlene: Your comment sounds like my post. Started writing out my thoughts, then eventually asked questions I couldn't answer.

    Renee: I consider myself happy. But am I happy, or have I conditioned myself to be content with where I am, maybe even settling?

    I think I've seen that email, or something like it. And I agree with you :)

    Zeus: That's OK. I sometimes live by quotes and ideals I've heard in TV shows or movies :) I definitely agree with putting everything you have into whatever you do.

    TC: Good for you. I didn't figure it would be. Maybe you should change your name to Auntie Chica :)

    DC: if we are going to get on the topic of "is watching tv a wasted life", I could be in big trouble.

    lol Don't worry, DC. If we decide that's the case, you and I can begin a support group.

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  16. A fulfilled life doesn't consist of any number of good or productive deeds.

    Having a happy life depends souly on what makes you a happy person.

    If you hate sitting at home, cooking yourself dinner, and watching The Office... then that's a waste.

    But if that's your idea of a nice, relaxing night after a long day's work... then that's perfect!

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  17. My friend has this quote on her blog and I think it sums up the life should be lived best.

    "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. It's better to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, with body totally worn out and screaming ~"WOO HOO what a ride!"

    If you enjoy YOUR life then it isn't wasted. Maybe chocolate and martini's aren't your thing but the office is where it's at for you.

    Anna Nicole Smith lived her life the way she wanted to. That is what life is all about. The last few months of her life were tragic but I think over all she led a good life. That Howard K. Stern is a jerk. I think he killed her, not intentionally but by neglect. He knew she was self medicating and he didn't do anything to help her.

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  18. Maybe you should change your name to Auntie Chica :)

    Naw, I read him books in Spanish when he was a baby, but I try to do it now he won't have anything to do with the book.

    I believe his words the last time I tried were: "Me all done, MéMé, me all done."

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  19. How beautifully put, Bone. I was shocked and saddened when I heard the news of her death, and I'm having a hard time putting my finger on why I'm not dismissing this and writing her off as just another celebrity life sucked into the vortex called 'excess'. But I am sad, and for what it's worth, I care.

    Rest in peace, Anna Nicole.

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  20. you are already...like a writer...like totally...and PLEASE world, don't start the 'she's really alive on an island with Marylin and JFK' rumor!

    It is sad for a life, ANY life to end. For me, I'm LIVIN OUT LOUD!

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  21. "What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?"
    Eleanor Roosevelt

    After you stop arguing with Eleanor's ghost that she's Eleanor and you're not, it makes sense.

    What's failure anyway but not completely succeeding at something you have tried.

    "A dream will always triumph over reality given a chance."
    A Chinese fortune cookie scotch taped to my computer.

    I am probably the most cynical person I know.

    But I learned on 9/11 that if I wanted to make my dream come true, I would have to go for it. No hesitating, no flip flopping as I love to do

    And barely seven months later I became a reporter. Had no idea then that would happen.

    Now I'm trying to make the more difficult part come true. It might not and I accept that

    But when I die, I will die knowing that I did try.

    It's my biggest wish for you, as my mentee, that you act on your dreams.

    You know that you haven't lived a wasted life, but you too have a dream.

    I have watched, sometimes breathlessly, you take your writing to amazing levels.

    You have come this far. Next week marks a new year in your life--the end of the perfect double three's.

    It's my birthday hope and wish for you that you take your dreams to levels you have yet to imagine.

    If this doesn't take....only blog I have verification issues with

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  22. Blondie: I guess being productive, or more accurately, making a difference, is one of the things that makes me happy.

    HotPink: Yeah, I think that was the quote Renee was referring to in her comment.

    TC: No, I meant on the blog. Since you mentioned you were becoming more of an aunt and less of a traveler :)

    Circe: Well said, Circe. I'm not sure why it saddened me so, either. But it did.

    Esmerelda: Thank you. And thanks for visiting :)

    Pia: But when I die, I will die knowing that I did try.

    I guess if as long as we can say that, then we can't say anything was wasted.

    I love the quote, too. Very inspiring. Thanks for an amazingly kind, touching comment.

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  23. Maybe because someday, that little boy isn't going to care that much about his aunt? (And yes, we all know it's the truth: everyone goes through those phases.)

    I have to say... I almost cried reading Pia's comment.

    You really are an amazing writer, Bone, and that's not going to change regardless of it you write for the world or for yourself. (Though I believe I'm speaking for everyone when I say that I hope you don't start just writing for yourself.)

    (Oh and I agree: I always have to enter word verification at least twice, sometimes more on your blog. You using that to get me to stop commenting so much? ;))

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  24. Traveling Chica-
    Nieces and nephews always love their aunties, we aren't their moms. My relationship with my teenage niece is something that I would never have with my own child - should I choose to ever have one. Enter that relationship with the mindset of a friend, something one can't do with their own children... anyway. I just didnt want you to give up already thinking that you would lose that relationship. He will have you when he hates his mom. Be ready for the phone calls. :)


    Ok, I got off track... sorry Bone.

    This post is so amazing, and your comments almost constitute a post of their own.

    I believe that if you truly follow your dreams then life is lived. I feels as though I am in a slow point right now... but knowing the steps I am currently taking are contributing to my larger goal, I know I am on the right track and I am happy.

    And youre in my life... that makes me happy too.

    ;)

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  25. It's not a wasted life if the choices you make and the experiences you have are truly yours. These last few years of her life have been carefully controlled and staged. And I feel sad just from the fact that she so obviously hurt so much, and that she was drugged and controlled, and it killed her.

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  26. Bone-
    I think we each make our own happiness- it's not up to anyone else to do that for us.
    I think ANS looked for that happiness in people, work, and substances- and never found it.
    The press reveled in her floundering- and now in her death.

    I feel sick and sad each time I turn on the TV-

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  27. "Never Seen the sky so blue, Never been happier then I am with you...Everyones got an opinion about how this should be.."


    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -- Mark Twain

    I know its been a good day, when I've made someone AT LEAST smile...

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  28. A wasted life is an unexamined life. This is not a quote.
    If we look at what we have done and are not happy, perhaps it is time to depart.

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  29. Woo hoo! Word verification is at least showing up this time...

    Anyway.

    That was a very nice thing to say, Bright Eyes. And I've pretty much been putty in his hands since he was a whopping five hours old. ;)

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  30. I was shocked when I got the message that she'd died. But yet, I wasnt shocked... I knew it was coming. In fact, my sister and I had talked about how it was just 'a matter of time' before she went - right after her son died. It's so sad that they died so young and that there is a baby left behind with no mom and her only other sibling (that we know of) is deceased. She was the butt of many jokes... and frankly I found her repulsive but at the same time I was intriqued.

    It's very sad.... and I wish the very best for the baby left behind.

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  31. TC: Pia's comment floored me as well.

    For me, it was more of a phase where it wasn't cool to be around the grown-ups, especially the parents :)

    And I have no idea what's going on with my word ver. Is it just my blog?

    Lefty: Thank you. And thanks for stopping by.

    Bright eyes: Thanks. I agree. The comments deserve a post all their own.

    Lass: I don't know everything that went on in her life. But I guess I also assume she wasn't a happy person the last couple of years.

    Cora: Yeah, I can't think about it very long before I feel very sad.

    TagAlong: That's a nice thought. Maybe life's more about the little things.

    Goatman: Thanks for visiting.

    Kerry: I laughed at my share of ANS jokes when she was alive. I guess that's why it seemed odd when she die, and I found it so sad.

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  32. I just leave those comments as insurance that when my blog goes to blog limbo as it did tonight, you would listen to my gentle sobbing

    Thanks again--now that it's back among the really alive

    Thanks TC. Your nephew sounds very lucky

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  33. Personally I hate the whole idea of "a wasted life". The life a person has is the life they have. There is no "wasted" or "full" life. It's life. Plain and simple.

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  34. For me, it was more of a phase where it wasn't cool to be around the grown-ups, especially the parents

    So... this is the phase you're still in? ;) Oh wait, no, it's just that you still act like a little kid... :-)

    I only have issues with word verification on TWO blogs, and yours is the worst. I'm telling you, I'm getting the drift that you're telling it to do that so I comment less, but that really just makes me comment more... ;)

    And thanks Pia, I like to think he is. :)

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  35. I think i was sad for her passing just because of the loss that she has endured already. And now this baby, her heir is going to be used as some "get rich"pawn by this nameless schmuck who doesn't want a child, just the dollars attached to her. I hope and pray she was her husband's baby, and that she will have some semblance of happy life.

    While I certainly never considered her a role model, I feel sad for the loss.

    I have had a lot of death around me lately as well, one a friend who graduated in my class. No noble death, he lost a battle with alchoholism. Slowly, painfully,finally yielding when his body quit. And he was 34. I determined anything I do that is not an enrichment of my life or the lives of my family is a waste, and I have rededicated my life to living.

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  36. girl fps gamer2/11/2007 12:48:00 AM

    I just looked at your photo (your fairly good-looking)and you sound like you could be qutie the fun fella,(from what I've read I in other posts you wrote)but,alas,I live near LA,you live in Alabama.You are a neat guy bone(hope your feeling up)

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  37. Nice thoughts on a tragedy, thanks.

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  38. Just a weee bit early for tomorrow but...

    Happy Birthday! Hope it's a great day.

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  39. ANS's life was wasted because she was a pretty girl (even when she was heavy) who decided that taking her clothes off for money was the best route to go. And then she tied herself to a bottom feeding enabler (that would be Howard K. Stern) who saw her as nothing but a publicity cash-cow. If she had had some positive influences in her life, steering her in the right direction, I don't think she'd have been the train wreck that everyone mocked and made fun of.

    I think, Bone, that even if you don't achieve mega stardom or become the most famous of writers, your life will not have been wasted because of the choices you've made and the impact you've had on the lives of the people you've touched.

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  40. Pia: Oh, I see. Well, your plan worked :) Welcome back to the land of the living.

    Lux Lisbon: Fair enough :)

    TC: Oh, you're funny. I wish you would name five ways I still act like a little kid :)

    I don't know why my blog gives word verification problems :( Another reason I should switch to WordPress.

    Dorothy: I think a lot of people are concerned for the poor baby. Born into this mess thru no fault of its own.

    Girl FPS: Fairly good-looking? lol Thanks.

    Sage: Thanks.

    Renee: Thank you! It was a fine day.

    Xinh: That was a wonderful last paragraph. I hope I've touched the lives of at least a few people.

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  41. I wish you would name five ways I still act like a little kid :)

    You really want me to do that? ;-)

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  42. The only sadness I felt over Anna Nicole Smith was why there was more attention paid to her death, than all the deaths of those men and women who are defending our country.

    Pathetic.

    That's all I have to say.

    I quite enjoyed reading the entry though.

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