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The Dash: A Lesson from a Life Well Lived

A few weeks ago, I witnessed my grandmother take her last breath. She held on, remarkably, until her youngest daughter arrived, defying medical explanation given the weakness of her vital organs. It was her last selfless act as a mother. She left on her terms, after 99 years of grace, wit, charm, and a healthy dose of sarcasm.

At the funeral, the celebrant referenced a poem entitled “The Dash”, which referred to the small horizontal line between the year of one’s birth and the year of one’s death.

That dash.

The dash that contained endless laughter, pools of tears, moments of celebration, twisted pangs of humiliation, errands run, countless moments forgotten, soil tilled, presents wrapped, movies watched, births, deaths, parties, wars, peace, wars and more peace and all the delicious moments in between. So much live LIVED.

I don’t often stop to consider what year will be placed after my dash. It’s certain that there will be one someday, but I know I’m asking myself, “So, what does my dash look like?”

How many moments will I be fully present to?
How many adventures will be had?
How many hearts will be touched?
How many seasons will I experience?
How many meals enjoyed with family and friends?
How many of my own wishes will I make come true?

The older I get, the more I bask in these contemplations simply because it seems to put everything in perspective for me.

The less I fret, the more fun I have.

The more fun I have, the more this place seems full of possibility and joy.

Yes, there are plenty of things around us to worry about… I know. And yet - we are here, dancing in the dash, doing our best to make the most out of the time we have here on this planet since we never really know when our time to leave will come.

While you are here, my friend, what’s your wish? What would you pursue if you knew you couldn’t fail?

What letter would you write? What song would you sing? What trip would you take? What idea would you launch? What speech would you deliver? What outfit would you wear? What check would you write? What dog would you rescue? What class would you take? What problem would you solve? What mountain would you climb? What contest would you enter? What habit would you break? What lesson would you learn?

It’s your dash and you can do with it whatever you wish.

PS: If you’re feeling like you would love some support and creativity around envisioning your bright and beautiful life, then come and join me at one of our upcoming events - Join me virtually or in person! Let’s dash together!