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Fri, Nov 9th - 9:16AM

"Everyday is a gift." That was a comment made to me several years ago by my elderly grandfather. He had suffered two heart attacks, asbestos poisoning, emphizyma (if that's how it's spelled, dammit Jim I'm not a doctor, wait...?), diabetes, and a myriad of other health problems that would make it seem more like everyday was a curse. Still, he maintained this positive mentality, because for him, everday was a gift. Why? Why is it that we cannot appreciate the life we are given until our mortality becomes blatant? Even those of us who are incessantly visceral do not truely appreciate life, just singular moments of gratification. My uncle would be a prime example. He is undoubtably the most visceral person I know. An unadmitted athiest, he actually said to me once, "he who dies with the most toys wins". That has to be one of the most ignorant statements of human history. What do you win? Do you get to go to the Disneyland of the afterlife or something? In truth, I believe that people like that suffer in the afterlife. They suffer because they obviosly missed the point. Life isn't about aquisition. Sure, posessions are nice, some are even necessary, but hardly the purpose of existance. After that most unenlightened comment by my uncle I responded with the cliche, "he who dies with the most toys still dies." He then added, "but you have fun doing it." I was aghast. Have fun? How? By getting into debt, having to work 60+ hours a week, living outside your means, never having a meaningful and fulfilling relationship because any time not spent working or balancing your budget/debts are consumed by indulging in you materialistic fetish? Back to my grandfather. He developed all those health issues by working 60+ hours a week. He owned his own business, a nice house in the suburbs of Long Island, a large piece of hunting property in Pennsylvania, a Cadillac and two SUV's, and a catalog of credit cards. But by the time he was 55 his health forced him into retirement, limited his physical activity tremendously, and put substantial strains on his relationship with my grandmother who was then forced to take care of him. If someone can please explain to me how that is "fun" I will gladly relinquish my title of "Teacher" and bestow it upon you. My grandfather though, had progeny, and then grandchildren. He was a mentor to me, and a piece of him will always live on in my teachings, and therefore in the learnings of my students, and so forth. My son will know stories of his greatgrandfather, and will be given advice that he once gave me. In that respect, my grandfather will live on, in one way or another. My uncle, on the other hand, has no children, only recently took a wife who is his senior (and with no chance of offspring), and has done nothing to leave the world better than he found it. My uncle will be quickly forgotten after he dies. He will not live on. We must strive to properly prioritize our lives. A large bank account means little or nothing if that is all you have. I'm not saying quit your jobs, join a commune, and live like a 60's hippie. Just do not forget that when you close your living eyes you will not be spared the sights of the afterlife. But maybe those who don't believe in the afterlife, don't get one. Think on that. Until next time... May Odynn guide you, Thor protect you, and the Valkyrie one day carry you to the feast.
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