Archive for May, 2023

life is short

May 16, 2023 2 comments

I have a good friend who lost her mate back in January. Rex had been sick for a long time with a lot of physical battles, but the guy remained thankful and pleasant throughout the whole ordeal. The guy was one of a kind. A brilliant man, well read, informed, industrious, gracious, generous, and always thinking about the next project. He cared about a lot of things that most of us take for granted. His passion to help, to feed the poor, was straight from the divine realm. He really invested and did what he could. I think he was simply unique in that ministry of heart, and I admired him greatly for it. I got pulled a couple of times into his passion to feed the poor. The guy was a tiger when he fixated on a goal. A “man on mission” is a gross understatement. I miss him already.

I dropped in to visit with him one day in January. Early, the very next morning, his wife texted me that Rex had passed in the wee hours of the new day. He was ready to go. It had gotten to the point when I’d ask him how he was doing, the standard response was, “shitty.” Then he’d grin and tell me how blessed he was, always noting how his wife of 61 years was taking care of him, serving him, keeping up the place, and himself. That visit was no different, except that he told me that he was ready to go home. Another project he was figuring, but there was always another project he was figuring.

A couple of weeks later, I dropped by to see Sally. It’s one of those relationships that I know I’m better for. She’s taught me a lot as she’s still transitioning into more truth and the mystery of unknowing. Senior adults who don’t have answers for everything are smooth as silk. I welcome any opportunity I get to be with them when they’re on that kind of contemplative path. Even amid so much pain and grief, she is teaching from the deeper realms of peace and contentment. It’s not that common. You notice it, and you feel it, when you’re around it.

I really wanted to know how she was doing, and she spilled her truth as I knew she would. “It’s the void. It’s the empty space that you can’t really ever prepare for.” Another perspective on grief. Another teaching of life’s reality. It chilled me when she said it because I know how often I manage my own need and desire for quiet. The optimal word there is “manage,” as though I have options. She’s learning how to be quiet within the cloud of quiet. And while it appears she’s adjusting to that level of quiet, it’s another realm of quiet she hasn’t known before, and it’s not going away. It’s not a temporary quiet. It’s a lasting quiet.  The air has changed. The space—the void—has overgrown everything in her life. She’s on a journey. She’ll adapt and she’ll be more than okay, just like millions of others have in their own journeys with grief. She’s tough like that.

After serving me snacks and drinks, she handed me an article entitled “Life is Short,” that she had photocopied from a magazine. “We don’t realize how much we abuse time and waste life,” she said. “Read it! It’s hilarious!”

I’ve been waiting for the right time to post it. The article is snarky, witty, and all too true. It definitely struck a few nerves. I’m passing it on because life IS short. I know it more every day.

Much love (way beyond knuckle love),



by Cora Frazer

Life is short. Why not spend it mired in regret? Why not spend your evenings sitting side by side at the dining room table with your spouse, trying to determine whether your downstairs neighbors’ ceiling fan is making the floor tremble?

Our existence on this planet is statistically insignificant when compared with the history of the universe. So take advantage of it! Charge your spouse six dollars and fifty cents on Venmo for “supplemental groceries.”

You get to choose the life you live. And, every minute, you have the opportunity to make a different choice. Every minute, you could say, “Today, I will eat defrosted turnip soup and think about the time I felt left out at my friend’s wedding.”

What you really want to do right now is call an office-supply store’s customer-service number. So why not do that? What’s holding you back? Who would you be if you stopped limiting yourself and really let yourself experience the hold music, interrupted every twenty-three seconds with “All representatives are currently assisting other callers”?

The next time you find yourself adding up items in your “worst-case scenario” budget, close your eyes and really feel your fingers on the laptop keyboard with its “N” partly worn off. Sense the gentle thrum of panic in your chest and hear the patter of the drill in the street beyond. Open your eyes and subtract another thousand. Why? Because you, my friend, deserve it.

True, you could dedicate your time on earth to your relationships and the work and hobbies that give you a sense of purpose. Or you could dedicate your time to washing used Ziplock bags and turning them inside out on drying racks to dry.

Someone’s got to read every single tweet written by peers who have achieved success in industries that you were never interested in, so why not you? Give yourself permission to take screenshots of other people’s life joy and text the images to acquaintances with the caption “LOL.”

There are only twenty-four hours in a day, so why not say “F-it” and fully embrace all the sublimity of your scarcity mind-set? Why not return seventy per cent of what you buy out of fear that you’ll never be able to retire? You do you! You walk into that retailer and request a refund outside of the return window like the transcendent being you truly are!

You are a gorgeous human with unlimited potential to eat week-old hard-boiled eggs, and the only person who’s holding you back from checking eighteen times to see if the stove is off is you.

Every moment that you’re not sitting double-parked in your Honda Civic, protecting your spot during street cleaning, is a moment wasted. Every moment that you’re bounding through autumn leaves with your rescue puppy is a moment that you could be writing a negative review of a printer you broke. Every moment that you’re meditating is a moment that you could be thinking of comebacks to the student who called your class “lower level.” This very afternoon, you could stroll down the street as you talk to your friend on the phone, listening to each of his words, or you could put yourself on mute and clean the toilet.

Your heart’s truest desire is to refuse to rejoin the family thread because you can’t handle your grandmother anymore. Of course, there’s the voice in your head telling you that you “should” forgive her for suggesting that you brush your hair more often. But forget “shoulds”! Focus on reading marketing e-mails instead, out of a sense of guilt! Because you have a unique and beautiful simmering rage inside you, and no one else can harbor it for you.

And, if you do enjoy your time working in public defense, or knitting, or cooking recipes from around the world, or reading out loud to your spouse, well . . . honestly, that seems like something you should examine.

And, whenever you decide that you want to live your life in all its exquisite smallness, we’ll be here for you with our arms firmly at our sides.

“Shouts & Murmurs,” New Yorker Magazine, January 23, 2023



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