October 22, 2012
“Accept what you are able to do and what you are not able to do.” (Albom 18) is the first and one of the most major aphorisms in Tuesdays with Morrie. I believe Morrie is speaking about recognizing your strengths, and not focusing so much on your weaknesses. He means, as he said, to “accept” your limitations. We are all affected by this aphorism everyday. We have limitations, and a lot of times we get so focused on our weaknesses we don’t take advantage of our strengths., and waste time simply trying to improve upon those weaknesses. For example, I’m not athletic. For a while, I focused on that and I let it upset me. I would set myself up to fail focusing on that, and wasting on my time trying to get rid of that lack of skill. Instead, I should have been focusing on non-athletic things that I am good at, and toning those skills, enjoying using them, rather than focusing on what I’m not able to do.
“The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.” (Albom 42) Here Morrie is speaking about the views culture and media release to us, how it preys upon us. Much of the social media is put out there to prey upon our insecurities, or create them to earn our business. We see this everywhere. Beautiful celebrities are plastered all over the tv, movies, and print, which makes us think that we aren’t attractive if we don’t look like them. You can see how prominent this is simply looking at a magazine cover. The titles for the articles, “The 10 Easy Workout Tips to Get You Slim Fast!”, “How to get Perfect Skin Now”, imply that you aren’t slim, with perfect skin, know how to get a boyfriend, be popular, etc. As Morrie said, you have to see above those and manage to stay confident even when the media is pressuring you not to feel that way. “So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” (Albom 43). In this quote Morrie speaks of the truly important things in life. He was telling this specifically to Mitch because it affected Mitch personally. He spent all his time focused on his work, and living wealthily that he pushed away his family, friends, Morrie, and his whole old way of life altogether. Like Mitch, this applies to many people, and me, too. We spend their whole life putting work, or money, or a certain person or thing as their number one. When this happens we think we’re happy, that we’re satisfied, and that we’re doing things we see as “important”, when we’re really wasting life. Morrie means you should spend your time doing the things that are best for you and everyone else that you truly enjoy. They should devote themselves to the best life possible, and thinking, if we died today, would we be truly satisfied with our life? We should be. In the quote, “Don’t let go too soon, but don’t hang on too long.” (Albom 162) , Morrie is speaking about his oncoming death, and experiences altogether. He’s saying that when we have very important experiences, we should take the time to experience them, and feel the emotions – not to move on immediately, but not too move on so fast that it keeps us from living our lives. I’ve lived this aphorism in the experience of losing friendships, and also living people, and not moving on quite as well as I should have. All you want to do is live in memories, and you can’t forget your regrets. Instead of feeling the emotions while you’re still living your life, you simply dwell in the depression and sadness. Morrie wants to prevent that from happening. When Morrie asks, “What if today were my last day on earth?” (Albom 64) he’s speaking about the elephant in the room with him everyday, which was that he was getting closer to his death everyday. He’s talking about thinking of everyday as your last day. If you died today, what would you regret not doing? Would you wish you had called your dad and apologized for what happened all those years ago? Would you wish you had finally told someone how you felt? Wish you had fulfilled your lifelong dream of skydiving? He’s talking about how, even thought it was most literal for him, any of us could die anytime, any day. We should live without regrets now, because you never know. You see this throughout real life. People die everyday, and many times when people find out they only have a certain amount of time left to live, they go out and do everything they’ve always meant to do. The problem is, we don’t always know our time, and Morrie was saying to live the way you mean to, living life not leaving things unsaid or undone.