An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson
As promised - to myself than anyone else really - I have taken some time off my long Memorial day - Madaraka day week relaxation to get back to catching up with my reading and I’m deep into my fourth read.
While initially named ‘Goodreads’, I’ll be renaming this segment of my writing ‘Excerpts, quotes and thoughts’ because that’s exactly how I read. Just like Morrie in this read, I tend to be philosophical about everything and draw life - applicable inferences.
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom - The read covers conversations between a student Mitch and his professor, Morrie who reunite several years post university. With Morrie battling a terminal disease, the two reconnect and elect to spend every Tuesday together for the former to learn life lessons from the teacher.
Generally, I felt like the read was slow, it took a really long time to pick up and I kept asking, okay, enhe with the first several pages. If you’ve read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi you know how emotionally heavy it is to be with an author in those final moments. But it picked up, eventually.
These are the three main thematic excerpts that stood out to me.
The Importance of Vulnerability
“Take any emotion-love for a woman, or grief for a loved one, or what I'm going through, fear and pain from a deadly illness. If you hold back on the emotions-if you don't allow yourself to go all the way through them-you can never get to being detached, you're too busy being afraid. You're afraid of the pain, you're afraid of the grief. You're afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails.
"But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is. And only then can you say, `All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment.' ”
"It's very simple. As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you'd always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It's growth. It's more than the negative that you're going to die, it's also the positive that you understand you're going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.”
Single Tasking and Learning to be Attentive
“I believe in being fully present," Morrie said. "That means you should be with the person you're with. When I'm talking to you now, Mitch, I try to keep focused only on what is going on between us. I am not thinking about something we said last week. I am not thinking of what's coming up this Friday. I am not thinking about doing another Koppel show, or about what medications I'm taking.”
Our generation thrives on multitasking and are generally shunned for not being able to juggle balls. Women in the workplace especially, even amongst ourselves, the bias and mom shaming still remains a key conversational topic.
My generation of women was told, you can do it all! I appreciate that that is now being challenged and there is push back. Being able to do several things simultaneously is great - as long as nothing falls through.
Scientifically, our minds can only focus on one thing at a time. Go on, think of what you ate yesterday and what you’re planning to do at 6 am tomorrow morning, simultaneously.
I have been trying to unlearn multitasking and learn single tasking.
To focus on one thing at a time, and do it well.
So help me God.
Note to self:
When you think it, note it. I had about three Me I loves this week but can only remember one, lol. So I need to really start taking notes of my thoughts.
At this time and moment, Me I’m Loving flowers. Here’s a shot of last week’s bouquet.
And here’s my plug if you’re in Nairobi, who always does me a solid! Sam of Sam’s Floral. He’s located at the ground floor of WestField Mall, that houses the Quickmart in Valley Arcade along Gitanga Rd, Nairobi, Kenya. Sam brings me joy, even when miles away.
Of course, it’s from Tuesdays with Morrie.
‘A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.’ Henry Adams