Thursday, January 14, 2016

Definers Define

In the wake of some bright stars that burned out far too early, I've been mindful of the seasonality of life and more particularly, of mine.

Within days of one another, two extraordinary, an iconic fill-in the blank of everything...singer/songwriter, actor, producer, painter, game-changer David Bowie and the other, an unforgettable, transformational actor, half-blood wizard Professor Snape, Alan Rickman passed away unexpectedly at the age of 69 from cancer.

While lamenting their deaths and celebrating their art, I'm aware that this thing we do on earth is temporal.  None of us knows when our time will be done.

And so, in typical Kelly style, I was standing over the kitchen sink, warm water flowing over my hands, scrubbing dishes, thinking of all of the things I will not be by virtue of my expiration date.  For example, I'll never be an Olympic athlete or an astronaut or a super model or a tight rope walker or a Kennedy Center honoree or an Oscar award winning actor or a...well, you get the picture.

And then, I stumbled upon this quote by Toni Morrison in honor of her 84th birthday...

And my heart began to feel alive again.  "Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined."

Toni Morrison didn't publish her first book until she was in her 40's.  Later in her life, post significant fame and fortune, a house fire burned nearly everything she owned to the ground and looking back she claimed, the most important thing in that house was my son and by the grace of God, he was spared.  She picked up the pieces and rebuilt herself again.

I feel like this must be what the journey is all about.  Defining and redefining the path.  Picking and choosing those opportunities that seem curious, interesting, unknowable, hopeful and trying them on for size no matter one's age or perceived limitations.

It feels good on a January day when the sun is shining to know that giants like David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Toni Morrison serve as encouragement saying...go for it, try it, who knows you might hate it...but then again, you might fall in love, if only for a brief may introduce you to something new, something unforgettable...something waiting on the other side. 

Define it for you...don't wait for the world to tell you what you are, at any age.

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