Death Casts a Long Shadow on Life

I like to start my birthdays at the cemetery. Instant perspective: you are alive. You have rounded the corner (or the sharp edge) of another year. But there is no avoiding the fact that you are going to end up in a place like this, so make the most of your time above ground.

On the flip side, the stakes feel peacefully low. Everything that is going to happen to everyone here has already happened. There is nothing to fret over, to falsely dream, to go awry. There are few places that allow me to exhale as deeply as I do when I’m in a graveyard.

This year I brought Bach’s cello suites with me and wandered the grounds for hours, getting so delightfully lost that I had to employ GPS in order to find my car. The mission was a resounding success, because I was reminded of all the important things about life above ground.

I was reminded that nature is always more powerful than man (and thankfully so):

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I was reminded of how lucky I am to live in a time when, as a woman, my identity and self-worth can be defined by so many more things than they might have been a century ago:

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I was reminded that life is tender and precious:

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and that every day counts:

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That things don’t always work out according to plan:

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That hilarity abounds:

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As does creativity (this is a 2D, flat headstone):

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I was reminded of how much we all have in common. Take this grave for example. It belongs to a woman who died the year I was born:

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But more important than the shared date, is the line that she and I have in common, the line that everyone has in common, the one between the two dates on our headstones that represents our lives:

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None of us has any say in how long the line will be but I, for one, am going to try like hell to make sure it’s etched as deeply as possible.

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