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Ask an old friend

I've known my friend Dick since fourth grade. We've tossed back many a lager together, masterminded myriad hijinks and pranks, and had many a talk about life, love, and the J. Geils Band. Recently, we were trading e-mails, and I turned the subject to an inevitable "I can't believe we're this old" thread.

Last week, he followed up by sending me a link to an article about things people regret when they realize they're dying. No. 3 on the list spoke loudest to me:

"I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings." Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

Either way, you win. Got it.

Here's a link to the entire article:

(Thoughts about dying—and living)


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 13th, 2011 12:38 pm (UTC)
Profound stuff. You'd think we'd all learn by now.
Dec. 13th, 2011 12:52 pm (UTC)
You're right: We always vow to stay in better touch with our friends after one of them dies, but we never keep that promise long.

Reminds me of a Bob Marley line: "In the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty."
Dec. 13th, 2011 03:02 pm (UTC)
The tag for this is perfect.
Dec. 13th, 2011 04:18 pm (UTC)
A Second Chance
Facing your mortality and surviving is a great motivator for change, though not one I would endorse as a regular practice. Having had my life put into extra innings has has more clearly defined what I wish to what I do. If anyone remembers "Pinky and the Brain", try to be more Pinky and less Brain, it makes life so much more fun-Holiday
Dec. 13th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
Re: A Second Chance
I'm sure not saying anything you don't already know, Holiday. I hope the rest of us can re-prioritize without having to go through what you have.
Dec. 13th, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC)
If only people didn't equate "being honest" with "being a jerkface". (Maybe it's just people - guys, really - around my age or younger?)
Dec. 13th, 2011 10:11 pm (UTC)
Sometimes with younger guys there's just too much testosterone, too much machismo and not enough functioning brain cells. And I was as much of a lout as any of my friends. Probably more so.
Dec. 13th, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC)
Guess so... though there's at least one guy I know who usually thinks before he speaks, and speaks bluntly and honestly, but can't take from others the sort of thing he dishes out. There's probably a filing-cabinet category for him too.

Basically it's the sort of false dichotomy that irks me, on the order of "emotion vs logic". You can have emotions, and logically deal with them - emotion != irrationality. You can be honest, and still be tactful. Being honest != being a jerkface.
Dec. 13th, 2011 10:11 pm (UTC)
We don't realize how many unhealthy relationships we're keeping on life support because we don't have the courage to speak the truth.
Dec. 13th, 2011 10:13 pm (UTC)
Amen, amen, amen. I've got a tennis-ball sized knot in my gut as I type this for exactly that reason.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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"It is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invisible to the eye." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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"Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere." – E.M. Forster

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