Today was the official NASA Day of Remembrance to honor the crews of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia. I could get into details about the space aspect of this… or the exploration aspect of this but that's not what I want to do right now…
Today while at Arlington Cemetery with many of the "extended NASA Family" and many friends, I couldn't help but reflect on some life thoughts in general….
Life is short people! Go live it! Enjoy it! Enjoy every moment of it! You never know what tomorrow may bring so why wait to enjoy life?!?! Get out there and live!!
Each day is a gift and not a guarantee. Don't assume that you can wait to take that big leap in your career, family, love or life in general next year - do it now! Don't say that you'll take that trip to wherever (name the place you want to go!) in a few years, if you can afford it now - spread your wings and fly! Go! If you can't afford it now, come up with a plan with a specific target date in mind. Don't just let it hang out there in the ether with no real plan because if you don't make a real plan you will just keep pushing it off.
Life is just to short to not have fun. When opportunities present themselves, do your best to take advantage of the chance as opposed to saying "No I can't do it" because you have to work the next day or you have your house to clean. Embrace life! Embrace the joys that new experiences can bring.
Perhaps even more importantly… Tell the people who you care about how you feel. All too often we forget to let others know how much they mean to us and how important they are in our lives. In my opinion, life is all about the people who are in it. Today, while I was standing there at Arlington, taking in all of thoughts, feelings and emotions of the day, I turned to two of my friends and told them how happy I am to have them as my friends. I mentioned that we don't do things like that very often but at times where loss is so obvious you are aware that we need to do a better job of telling people how we feel. It seems like such a simple gesture yet it's something we all, in general, do so infrequently. The response I got was one of "Yes, we all do need to tell one another that we care about each other and not just at events like this."
Take the time today to reach out to one friend who is important to you and let them know. You might be surprised at the reaction you get.
I'm tired of us all saying wonderful things about people at Memorial services. Don't get me wrong, I want those things to be said there too, but I also want them to be said to the person while they are still here to hear it.
Some of you may find this next thing funny (Hodge, Erin and anyone else who was in HHS English Classes in the mid 90s….) you'll never guess what popped into my head when I was thinking about all of this….
"Tell Me Not in Mournful Numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!"
-- Excerpt from The Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Yes, believe it or not there are portions of this that are still ingrained in my head (Thanks to Mrs. Sebby and Honors English) from when we had to memorize this poem. I have to admit I couldn't remember all of the poem but the stanzas I did remember spoke so eloquently of some of what I was thinking and feeling today and what I've tried to write about here. I am certainly no poet but I hope my thoughts gave you some pause and something to think about…
Since this poem is all about how important it is to live life to the fullest, I'll leave you with the whole poem in closing…
A Psalm of Life
What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.