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Mike Aragona - Freelance Writer / Editor

The Last Word

Finding a Balance — (March 2002) Neil Young intones, "It's better to burn out, than to fade away". Blondie advises, "Die young, stay pretty". Other musicians have stated; "Live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse".

As a Parent, these lyrics are shocking. Who in their right mind would want their children to listen, recite, and worse-believe, these messages? And yet, as a Teenager, I cruised along and sang these same lyrics. I didn't believe a word, but I understood what they seemed to be saying (in a twisted sort of way). Luckily, age has tempered my view. Where I used to pump my fist and shake my head screaming "Yeah!" to the notion of living life to the fullest barring all consequences, I started rebelling and asking "Why should I do what you want me to?"

Who would have thought that Teenage Rebellion could be such a good thing. :)

After a while I started realizing that the faster I was cruising through life, the less I was seeing of it. Even though it seemed I was "living it up" the truth was that I became so concerned with going from one place to another that I started to lose out on the every day pleasures. The week days were just something I had to go through in order to get to the week ends. Instead of living each day and enjoying whatever quiet moments I had, I was busy making plans and getting work done as quickly as possible so I could get on to the next task.

To quote another famous phrase, it was as though I were "living on borrowed time".

When it finally sank in that no matter how much I did, I wasn't getting any closer to a finish line, I had to take stock of my life. The world wasn't going to end with the next passage of Haley's Comet. The Sun would come out "tomorrow". I was going to have to find a "real" job after I graduated College. The Beatles were right - "Obla-dee obla-da, life goes on" - and it was time to start living it.

I wish I could say that I managed to get a true perspective after that revelation. Although I did begin to take the time to slow down, I didn't always get the chance to "smell the flowers". Instead, I began to worry that I would be left behind in the battle of carving out a career. It seemed that I would waver between indifference and fear in regards to finding a balance in life. It comes as no surprise to me now since I realize I never had a clear goal to work towards. It's amazing what coming face-to-face with your inner demons will do to you.

The journey towards clarity begins with a step inwards. Look deep into your core and ask yourself: "What is the MOST important thing in the world to me?" Once you have that answer (and it's not always evident), living life becomes much easier. The reason is simplicity itself. Whenever you're faced with a decision, you simply reflect on what and how the outcome of your decision will affect your core. If your family is the most important thing in your life, then the answer to everyday questions such as "will you be able to work 60-hour weeks" aren't that difficult to handle.

The other, and most important, point to remember is: God has a Plan. Everything happens for a reason. Whatever you feel about the injustices in the world (or your life) over which you have no control, always believe in this Truth. Every challenge strengthens us. How well we handle ourselves during times of stress will enhance our lives. Every problem has a solution once you remove the negative feelings attached to it. The only constant is change. How you react to that change will have a huge impact on you. Finally, God only puts you through what He knows you can handle.

Life is a gift and a wonderful one at that. It should be lived and enjoyed to the fullest extent. But it's also very important to take the time to be thankful of what you have. Family, friends, nieghbours, and even pets! Surrounding yourself with beings who care for you enriches your life. Finding a balance in life is easy to do when you're surrounded by love.

And if you want to heed the words of musicians, there are many who can give you glimmers of truth. Aeorosmith teaches that, "Life's a journey, not a destination…" and Sarah McLachlan warns, "Don't let your life pass you by…"

How you live your life is up to you. The important thing is that you do, indeed, live it.

(The Last Word (c) Mike Aragona. All rights reserved. No reproduction or retransmission of this article is granted without written permission of Mike Aragona)

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