By Cindy Phillips
Robin Williams was one of us. He was a Boomer. He shared our era in all its wonderment and maybe even more. In fact, I am sure it was more.
He grew up with Shari Lewis, Lambchop and Charlie Horse. I am sure he watched the Mickey Mouse Club and had a crush on Annette. He probably imitated Mr. Weatherbee in his crazy Robin Williams way.
He was most likely cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. I bet he ate plenty of McDonald’s burgers, fries and shakes as a teen, followed by copious amounts of applied Clearasil to battle the grease-induced acne.
I am sure Robin Williams listened to the Beatles, amazed at the way they morphed over the years, producing albums like “Sgt. Pepper” and “Magical Mystery Tour.” Robin Williams probably analyzed those songs and maybe even heard “Paul is dead” when he played “Revolution 9” backwards. I bet he got high and listened to Hendrix. I bet he wanted to go to Woodstock and slide in the mud.
Robin Williams had dreams and goals just like we all did. And like many of us, he also had demons. Those demons overpowered him and he took his life to quell the pain. For many Boomers, Robin Williams was their comic hero.
The day after Robin Williams passed, my former roommate had the heartbreaking task of putting her dog to sleep . Maj was a standard poodle, black and regal. She had a sweet personality and easy going temperament. For the three years I lived in her master’s home, she was my evening companion. Somehow she always sensed when my demons were getting the best of me. She would climb on my bed and snuggle as close as she could possibly wiggle her lithe frame next to me. On those nights she was my hero.
As we head down the path of our supposed “golden years,” more people around us are dying. As ironic as it sounds, it’s a fact of life. Boomers, make no mistake–these are wake up calls. The older we get, the more we get woken up. Truth is, no matter how much you work out, eat right and do everything possible to live a good a life, one day you are going to die.
You can’t prevent the inevitable, but you do have the power to maximize whatever time you have left. Like the song says, “Live like you are dying.” Here’s my own personal “get the karma balanced” preparation list.
Count your blessings every single day . Say thanks for them. Appreciate them. Savor them. Treat them right so they multiply. Never take them for granted. Share them with those you love. Share them with those who need them even more than you.
Make things right with your past. We all have things in our past that still nag at us–or maybe even haunt us. Don’t stay entangled in emotional briars. Get out the clippers and cut your way clear. You will feel free, liberated and able to breathe when you do.
Start ticking items off the bucket list. My bucket list is long and somehow keeps getting items added to it, but nothing actually gets accomplished. What am I waiting for? That book is not going to write itself and that piano is not going to play itself. I’m not sure the tattoo will ever really happen, but when I have a few drinks and I see someone else’s, it seems like a reality again. It’s time to take action and make things happen. Refusing to do so will only lead to regrets–lots of them.
Let go of anger. It takes a lot–I mean A LOT–for me to be angered. But the anger I have is deep and I struggle to bring it to the surface and rid myself of its stranglehold. I fight with this one every day, but I am taking baby steps toward resolution.
Enjoy life. Every day, every hour, every minute. It is precious and it can be taken from you in an instant.
Appreciate nature. When you drive to work each day, take time to look at the sky as well as all your surroundings. It will look different every day. That is the wonder of nature. Let it dazzle you.
Smile as often as possible. First of all, smiling produces less wrinkles than frowning. Smiling is as contagious as the common cold, but a much nicer thing to pass on to others. Smiling on the outside makes your heart happy on the inside.
Dance whenever the mood strikes you. I do waist-up dancing in my car and at my desk. And never, ever care what those who are watching you think.
Love with passion, love with honesty, love with your whole being. And always love yourself as well as others.
When your demons try to bring you down, kick their butt.
Cindy Phillips is a columnist for The Mountain Times and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org