I’ve been so overwhelmingly lucky in my life. Not the luckiest, but in terms of a middle of the road, not bad looking, charismatic, outgoing regular guy, I’ve reached and achieved things that make me incredibly content with my life.
I’ve never really had to deal with tragedy. Hardship, sure. Frustration, worry, distraction, desperation, sadness, and other things in that realm, without question. But tragedy is something different.
Tragedy is something so profoundly life altering sad and shocking that time seems to stop. You’re only in that moment of the world never being the same, you don’t even remember what life was like seconds earlier before this tragedy and you don’t know if you’ll ever be able to experience again.
Celebrity deaths are interesting phenomenons in our society. Even just ten years ago you might not hear about someone passing away until the next day in the newspaper, or from a daily updated news site on the internet. With Twitter and social media now, the entire world knew within hours, maybe minutes, of the discovery. There is an entire discussion on the merits, pros and cons of this, but that’s for another day.
A celebrity passing away is a tragedy for those close friends and family who have had their lives touched so much by them, just like any family member would feel. However, the ripple affects go on and on as people who may not have been as invested as the people one ring closer but they are still affected. These people have influence over so many lives, they’ve given optimism and joy to so many people, and, it seems, sometimes there just isn’t anything left for themselves.
This year has seen a lot of my childhood influences struggle or suffer in someway. Jim Kelly, quarterback and legend of the Buffalo Bills, has had a much publicized battle with cancer right after the Bills long time owner, Ralph Wilson Jr. passed away after making it to 95. The team in flux itself with potential new ownership also feels like a fight for survival in some way.
And now, Robin Williams. Robin was by far my favorite actor growing up as a child. Along with Dana Carvey, Bill Murray, and Jim Carrey, these actors may have had more of an influence on teaching me humor and entertainment than almost anything else. I wouldn’t be who I am today without Williams’ eccentric mannerisms, Carvey’s impressions, Murray’s comedic timing and Carrey’s willingness to do anything to get a laugh.
These are things that emotionally affect me, in a strong way, and in the overall hierarchy of life it worries me how, even though these people and things have been part of my life since inception, they are still relatively distant in terms of ripples.
All of my grandparents are still alive and, despite a few recent health related issues, are relatively healthy and active. I know one day this won’t be the case, just like it won’t be the case with my aunts and uncles, my parents, the love of my life, my pets, my friends, and me. It’s hard to even type it out, that’s how unprepared I am for what’s to come.
Turning 29 next month doesn’t scare me, but ever more increasingly I find myself thinking about the past instead of the future. I’m still a very young man with my most important accomplishments still to come but I’m finally admitting to myself that I’m starting to have enough life experience to know that life is about the experience.
When you love your life as much as I love mine, it’s increasingly tougher to not wait for the house of cards to fall crashing to the ground but for now I will continue to admire it, protect it and be grateful for the years it took to build it.