Sunday, October 6, 2013

When Cancer Doesn't Matter

I woke up this morning to a video called What if Money Were No Object? My son had posted it online, and there are actually a bunch of different versions of it floating around. It's a voice over by Alan Watts, a writer and speaker who actually died about 40 years ago, but whose ideas are still very popular, particularly among young people.

It was a nice think to wake up to. Watts delivers a simple message: do what you love. Act as if money were no object, and you'll get good enough at what you love that things will take care of themselves.

I think what this probably means is that my son has decided to major in music. He played sax last night with a jazz combo in what he said was probably the best gig he'd ever had.

Will majoring in music, doing what he loves, mean things will take care of themselves?

Who knows. But thinking about the journey is kind of fun, and watching him take those steps is a thrill for me. He has the luxury of discovering what he loves, and of even considering the possibility of doing something as if money were no object.

For the rest of us, maybe the real world gets in the way of fully carrying out Watts' advice.

But there's a lesson for us, anyway.

A couple of days ago, I read about Vivian Campbell, guitarist for the band Def Leppard, who has been going through chemo for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. (I wrote about him after his diagnosis had been announced.) The band has been playing some shows, and he said the playing, as exhausting as it is, has been helping him get through treatments. They've been doing it in a funny way, too --disguising themselves as Ded Flatbird, a fake Def Leppard tribute band. It sounds like they've been having a blast for themselves.

And there's the message: I'm not in a position, at my age, with my health, and with a family, to chuck it all and decide to do what I love and hope it works out. I'm not 16 anymore. Which isn't to say I don't like my job -- I'm lucky enough to be able to say that I do. Would I have loved to play guitar for Def Leppard? Or even Ded Flatbird? Absolutely. But I can't do that.

What I can do, though, is find the joy in what I do everyday. In those few hours, or few minutes, that I find the time and energy to do something I really love, maybe I can act like money is no object.

My son has thew world in front of him, and can decide what he wants to do that will make him happy forever.

We have a world behind us, and sometimes we carry it on our backs. Maybe we can carve out just a little time for ourselves to pretend we're 16 again, and act like money, time, and cancer don't matter.

1 comment:

Michael McEachern said...

"We have a world behind us, and sometimes we carry it on our backs. "

You may find it hard to believe, but I look at it differently. I have a life of accomplishment behind me, cause I'm always trying to find something I like to do. I'm fortunate enough to have found a career and occupation that I enjoy, even though some day are totally nuts. The video is good food for thought, but as we know, somewhat hypothetical, because no matter what, we all need to pay the bills, unless we're ready to move to the wilderness and live off the land.

To me,the real point is to enjoy doing as many things that challenge you, de-stress you, and give you a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment when you're not wrapped up in your day to day career, while you can.

So, i'll continue to play lame old guy hockey, keep pedaling my bike, ride my motorcycle and whatever else i can fit in, while trying to find time to discover a few new craft brews. I'm going fly fishing and shooting clay targets in two weeks , because I think its fun. Sometime it;s not the real world that gets in our way, we get in our own way and forget what it's like to be 16 and have a blank sheet of paper to fill with whatever we want..

Now go pick up your guitar. for Christ's sake. :)