To open this post, I offer my condolences to the families of the nine people who’s lives were lost in yesterday’s tragic helicopter crash near Los Angeles, California. Notable among the dead is NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter Gianna Bryant. I know the media tends to focus on the famous people who die, so I don’t want to focus solely on the Bryants, though it is hard not to focus on them at all.
As tragic as yesterday was for those nine people and the families and friends who love them, as well in light of the genuine feelings of grief and melancholy that fans of Kobe Bryant are pouring out on social media, I think it best to offer some perspective in order to put tragedies such as this into focus.
I learned at an early age just how fleeting life is. I lost my father when I was just four years old. My father was but 33 years old. Gone far before what many considers “our time”. Just like Kobe Bryant likely didn’t think he’d be gone by age 41, or his beautiful young daughter by age 13, most of us never give it a second thought that we might die tomorrow or die before we reach whatever age we think is “our time” or “old enough”.
While I mourn the passing of anyone I was close to or lament, on some level, the passing of a celebrity I admire, like Kobe Bryant, I choose to reflect and honor their memories by reminding myself that tomorrow is promised to no one, so I should strive to live a life of purpose today.
I work like I have more days ahead of me and live like there is no tomorrow.
The job will always have more tasks to accomplish, but life doesn’t stand still long enough for me to take what I think is important to me for granted.
Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and the other seven souls we lost yesterday, died in pursuit of living life to the fullest. They were on their way to a basketball game, a game they all loved, living their lives as opposed to just existing.
Let their passing be a moment for cathartic reflection on your own life versus being a sad moment. After all, death is a natural part of life. As Ian Fleming once wrote, you only live twice: once you are born and once when you look death in the face.
The circle of life is in perpetual motion. These individuals who perished yesterday died living their best lives. Let that thought assuage any grief or melancholy you are feeling today.
For them, the circle of life is complete. For the rest of us, it is still in its perpetual motion. Try to enjoy the ride like they did.
-The Rational Ram