Sunday, August 1, 2010

Learning Life Lessons

I think I'm the last person on earth to read "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom.  I get that, but I'm gonna write about it anyway!  I've read a few of his other books (which I loved), but for some reason I hadn't yet gotten around to his most famous work.  But here's the thing - reading this book now, at this point in my life, probably meant more than if I had read it a few years ago.  

The book obviously has many great life lessons - told within a beautiful and moving story.  I'm sure that it's brought comfort to those who are dying, those who are sick, etc.  But there are other life lessons - how to live - that really spoke to me.  So many things Morrie professes in the story are the things I'm grappling with now, and lessons Tony and I are just starting to realize.  


Morrie, who is dying, says, "Well, for one thing, the culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves.  We're teaching the wrong things.  And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn't work, don't buy it.  Create your own.  Most people can't do it.  They're more unhappy than me - even in my current condition."

It's so true - so many things that we are "supposed" to want in life - things that are "supposed" to make us happy - impressive career, more money, bigger and better everything.  I'm sure those things make some people happy. And hey, who doesn't like more money?  But like Morrie talks about throughout the book, those aren't the things you want to remember about  your life when it's your time to go.  He has lived a life filled with love.  He already knew how to live, but was able to recognize this even better through dying and share with Mitch, who himself is struggling with all of these same issues.  

Morrie also says, "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."

Mitch says, "I knew he was right."


I'm nowhere close to fully realizing and actualizing the ideas above.  But that's where I want to be.  I want to feel like I have created and molded my life to be something proud of - something full of love, help, and purpose.  Again, I'm nowhere close.  But that's not a bad goal to have in mind, right? 

I've mentioned it before - and I don't think it's an uncommon sentiment these days - but less really  is more.  Cutting back in our already modest-ish life has proven very valuable - and that's just on a small scale.  Tony and I talk more, spend more time with each other, and don't feel tied down by our things.  "Wants" mean more when it takes a while to get there.  I'm working on getting more involved in volunteering, doing things that make use of my skills and fulfill me.  We're learning together the things that make life purposeful and full.

I'm taking baby steps - and I'm determined to get there.

If you haven't read the book, do it.  It's an easy read, and Albom's a great story teller.  And take Morrie's words to heart.


  1. First, I haven't read the book either... But now I am absolutely going to (I loved the Five People You Meet in Heaven)...

    And second - BEAUTIFUL post. It's funny; I watched an old Oprah this weekend about consumerism and "freeganism," and I was also inspired that less is more. We're programmed to want more and more stuff, and we ignore what's important.

  2. I have this on my list of books to read as well! Now if I can just start knocking more books out! I am finishing The Last Song at the moment then onto Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy :) Won't have a chance to read tonight - Bachelorette Finale :)

  3. I thought I was the last person on earth to read this book (or to have it on their reading list anyways:)! I have read "Five People you Meet in Heaven," have borrowed "One more Day" (not yet read) and still want to read this one. A SERIOUS goal- reading more- when my kids start school.

    I loved this post (and your 'financial one') and my husband and I went through this same exact process when I stopped working, and realized that we we're in a consumerism/spending frenzy. It is crazy, but it took a year to fully realize (after being on only 1 income) that we absolutely could not (and did not want to) live that way anymore. I could not express more how much more satisfying it is (just as you talked about- coupon clipping, discount shopping, not having to DO/GO/SPEND every second of every day. We just had a long talk this weekend with our son about why we now live the way we do and who we have become/what we have learned, etc.

    I can't wait to read the book!


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