What’s the difference if I live to be 40 or 400?

Over the past few months I’ve found myself reading biographies on people that lived well before modern times. One of the things that struck me as particularly interesting was the way writers went about gathering information on their subjects. There were no TV interviews to watch, no documents left behind on the internet, and no living relatives to interview. The best way to learn about the subjects was through the letters they left behind.

Because fame is right around the corner for me and biographies on my life will be in great demand 100 years from now, I thought that leaving behind a trail of letters (digital though they may be) sounded like a great idea. In my opinion, letters are the most illuminating form of communication we have and the idea of experimenting with that was too intriguing to pass over. My younger sister, Lauren, will be participating in an ongoing letter share with me. Where it goes and what we learn about one another I have no idea. Follow along and find out with us.

cully_letter_back

Loopster,

I never realized that “Good morning Starshine. The Earth says “Hello!” was a lyric from that gloopy glop song. Actually, I didn’t even know that was a song.  I thought you were quoting Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka line. Do you like that version of Wonka? In my opinion his take on Willy Wonka was closer to the book Wonka than Gene Wilder’s. I wouldn’t say it’s better, but if you’re talking whose characteristics most matched the book I think Johnny Depp’s was closer. But the newer movie pisses me off. I hate the music, the Oompa Loompa’s, and Mike Teavee.

But on to more pressing matters. You asked if birthdays make me philosophical. The days themselves? No. But I think about time passing almost always. And death. Always death. I wasn’t always that way. I’d say it started when I turned 27 or 28 and I realized if I died at the same age as Mom I didn’t have much time left. At that time in my life (and still somewhat now) I felt like I wasted the time I had and didn’t know what I wanted to do with whatever time I had in front of me. I always felt panicked to make a difference and make my mark on the world. Or at the very least not just spend all my time sitting in front of a TV or a computer. That’s what made me want to travel. If I found out I was dying and never saw some of the things I wanted to see I wouldn’t have been happy. I think that feeling of time slipping away is what draws me to Europe. You can feel the history and the lives of people that came before you. And even though they’re all dead and in the ground something of their energy still remains. I remember walking up the steps of Notre Dame noticing how worn the steps were from all of the feet that trudged up and down them over the years and feeling connected to all of the people I would never know who were in the same place looking to experience something bigger than themselves. I loved that feeling.

I read a book by the philosopher Bertrand Russell a few years ago called The Conquest of Happiness. It helped slow me down and start looking at what was right in front of me. Whether that be a tree, a sunset, the sound of Emma cracking up, or Nolan doing the Batman song at my wedding. While it’s here and while I can,  I try to take the world in if just for a second and be happy. What’s the difference if I live to be 40 or 400 if I never pay attention to anything going in my life except for a clock that never stops ticking? That’s why I started dabbling in photography. Whether I take good pictures or not is of little concern to me. It’s about slowing down and actually looking for things I find beautiful. Like who knew I thought ducks were cool? Not me. At least not until I took a second to look at them through a lens.

Are there things you feel would be left undone if you were to kick the bucket before your time? And I’m talking things specific to you and your life here on this planet. I know you want to see your kids grow up and all that, but what do you want for yourself? And if you haven’t achieved something yet do you have plans to go after it?

I look forward to hearing from you Tuesday,

Douglas

Both in thought and in feeling, even though time be real, to realize the unimportance of time is the gate of wisdom.

                       -Bertrand Russell

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