If you arrive at the end of your life and are able to say that you would not change a thing except for a few unwise choices that you made here and there, then you have lived a good life.
I’ve been a writer for a couple of years now and as catchy blog titles come to mind I save them with the intention of adding content later. The time is now for this one.
A few years ago, I gave my brother a Life is Good tee shirt with the above image on it. In my opinion it suited him well. I’ve never considered my brother to be “lost” in the sense that he couldn’t find his way. In fact quite the opposite is true. I always believed that he lived a very deliberate and focused life…a life primarily on his terms. In a lot of ways, I can relate to him.
“Free spirits” is what they call us…being true to one’s self, marching to the beat of our own drummer, enjoying the road less traveled, standing out in a crowd, desiring to break free from the shackles of convention, embracing life and everything that it has to offer, leaving people who care about us in our wakes…some of them broken hearted…frequently misunderstood and judged by others. I’m reminded of an old song now by The Animals…”Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”.
There’s a feeling of wanderlust in many of us but few are willing or able to answer the call. Our souls cry out to be free from the opinions and expectations of others as to how we should live our adult lives…the bittersweet, double edged sword of family tradition and mediocrity.
Sometimes we just have to walk away…to save ourselves or to find ourselves. I did that when I left an unhappy marriage while my husband was away on a fishing trip. My mom did the same too when she left a volatile marriage with nothing but the shirt on her back one morning while my dad was in the shower. My brother walked away also rationalizing that his children would be better off without him. People who behave this way are perceived as being selfish or narcissistic and sometimes they are but sometimes it’s really not about that at all. It’s not even about love or the lack thereof; sometimes it’s just the call of the wild, the unrest, the demons from within that takes control. Sometimes it’s about physical and emotional pain that needs to be dealt with, self-preservation and survival.
Free spirits find a new “tribe” to be with…a new band of gypsies, tramps and thieves…kind of like Jesus did…people from all walks of life to join in. People who “get us” and people who want to be like us or with us. People who have our backs. People who care about us…some of them as much as our biological families do. People who accept us and love us unconditionally…finally we are free, free at last or so it seems.
The roads of people like us are paved with good intentions and when we know better, we try to do better if we’re wise and decent human beings and we are. My brother made no excuses for the life he lived. He was very sick at the end but he didn’t complain much; he just powered through. He inspired me in ways that he’ll never realize. Probably one of the most intriguing things that he did before he died was to purchase a brand-new Harley Davidson motorcycle knowing that he was sick. The paperwork said November 4th. He passed away on February 5th and the bike only had seven miles on it. There’s my favorite number again…seven. What was he thinking?! I can’t wait to see him again and ask him why.
R.I.P. my brother.