Remember to live in the moment
“The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly — and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.” —Omar Khayyam
Ted Rosenthal heard the news that he had leukemia and had six months to live. He wrote a poem, “How Could I Not Be Among You?” His manifesto is not so much about fear of death as the incompleteness of his life and his desire to fill it full. The message to us, regardless of age, is not to delay giving ourselves wholeheartedly to life.
“I am 31. I lived well into my 30s. I can always say that. I stand before you all aching with truth, trembling with desire to make you know. Eat, sleep and be serious about life. To be serious is to be simple; to be simple is to love. Don’t wait another minute, make tracks, go home. Admit you have some place to return to. The bugs are crawling over the earth, the sun shining over everyone, the rains are pounding, the winds driving, the breeze is gentle and the grass burns. The earth is dusty. Go ankle deep in the mud. Get tickled by the tall cattails. Kick crazily into the burrs and prickles. Rub your back against the bark, and go ahead, peel it. Adore the sun. Roll among the wet daisies. Blow out your lungs among the dead dandelion fields. But don’t delay. Time is not on your side. Soon you will be crying for the hurt. Make speed. Splash in the ocean. Leap in the snow. Come on everybody! Love your neighbor. Love your mother. Love your lover. Love the man who just stands there staring. O people, you are dying! Live while you can.”
Rosenthal died in the fall of 1972 at the age of 34.