Tuesdays With Morrie: An Old Man, A Young Man, And Life’s Greatest Lesson
Amassing wealth, being the person who calls the shots and having a regular well-paying job may sound like the ideal definition of success. I mean, who would not be enticed by the idea of being known the world over, people nearly worship you and as you pass, they lay their garments on the ground so that you don’t step on dirt. Nobody would detest the idea of having a vault at their backyard so that whenever they need money, they just bang some keys and get all the money they want. As I grew up, I nursed the pleasant hope of getting a roomful of money, and fame and owning an organization that goes beyond Kenya. That was my basic definition of success. I haven’t given up on being successful but my definition is a lot different now after I came across a 192-page book that changed my outlook on life.
For about three days, I leafed through ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ and it was hard to put down. This is a story about Mitch Albom who had everything going for him. He is so caught up in his professional life as a sports writer working for a Detroit newspaper that he does not take time to appreciate the love from his wife and other important things in life. His craze for work, fame and success leaves him outwardly successful but inwardly hopeless.
He is not even aware of his problem until one day when he switches on the Television and sees his college professor, Morrie Schwartz being interviewed about death by Ted Koppel on ‘Nightline’. The professor has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sceloris (ALS), a disease that sees him waste away with every passing day. This professor was instrumental in shaping his (Mitch’s) life but after college, they lost contact. He taught him how not to sweat the small stuff and why he needed to follow his passion.
Mitch Albom travels from Detroit to visit his old professor at his home in West Newton, Massachusetts. After almost sixteen years, Mitch and Morrie are reunited. Despite his ailment, Schwartz has such wealth of information which he is willing to share before he dies. Mitch and his professor set up days when they will be meeting to have these enriching conversations that are later captured in this book. Tuesdays were their ideal days for meeting during their college days and so they decide to relive that experience. For about fourteen Tuesdays, they meet and Mitch records what he learns from Morrie and that is what morphs into this book written from Mitch’s perspective.
As you read through, the book sheds light on spiritual transformation and why we should not only have a materialistic view of the world. It has deep content that touches on the world, money, regrets, and death among others. Here are some excerpts and the lessons I learnt from reading this beautifully written masterpiece
“You have to find what’s good and true and beautiful in your life as it is now,” stated Morrie.
Give out love, and let it come in. Love always wins. Love is the only rational act. This love goes beyond the love you have for your spouse. It is the love you have for the world you live in and that’s why you are against polluting it, poaching or doing anything that will hurt the environment. It is the love you have for the people who have nothing to give in return. Walking on the streets of Nairobi, you will see a beggar spending a night in the streets and you will buy him some food. It is the love you have for the people who are not from your tribe.
Feeling Sorry For Yourself
Mourn over what you have lost. Give yourself a good cry then stop. Concentrate on all the good things still in your life. Don’t allow yourself self-pity, put a limit to that. You may experience all the horrid things in this world but don’t let your predicament cloud your vision. Cry if you have to then go back to work.
There is no foundation, no secure ground upon which people may stand today if it isn’t the family. If you don’t have the support, love and care from a family, then you don’t have much at all. Love is supremely important. Family isn’t just about love but letting others know there’s someone who is watching out for them.
Don’t cling to things because everything is impermanent. Don’t be afraid to feel and experience life. Love a spouse or any other person, have fear, get pain from an illness. You can never learn to get detached if you are too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, grief and vulnerability that loving entails.
Fear of Aging
People fear aging because as you grow older you become more helpless and may need somebody to help you with tasks that you were able to do yourself, like bathing, and cleaning after you. Embrace aging as it is not just about decay, it is also about growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it. When you fear aging, it reflects an unsatisfied and unfulfilled live. If you found meaning in your life, you wouldn’t want to go back. You want to go forward. If you’re always battling against getting older, you’re always going to be unhappy, because it will happen anyway.
You get tested. You find out who you are, who the other person is and how you accommodate each other. Things in a marriage are not that simple. You have to learn how to respect the other person, how to compromise and how to talk openly about what goes on between you. The book paints marriage as a beautiful institution that will better the parties in it.
Although this book was written a while back, the lessons still hold. You can read it in one sitting and come out fully refreshed. I would recommend this book because it gives you a whole new perspective on life.
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