#87 - Uncle Mike
Q: What’s your favorite quote?
A: “Life is all about the dash.” I received Uncle Mike’s answer to my question in a text via Aunt Mare (#993) and haven’t yet had the chance to sit down with him to learn what it means. When I Googled it, I was directed to an interview with Julius Irving in which he also cites “life is all about the dash” as his favorite quote. Dr. J goes on to explain that the dash is what’s on a tombstone between a person’s date of birth and date of death. So, life is all about not being not alive? (I was thinking it might have had something to do with life being like a race and the thrill of competing.) I’ll update this post once I get Uncle Mike’s interpretation of the dash, but for now it looks like a great opportunity for me to share some well-intentioned and underqualified thoughts on language and life. To say that life is life, or life is what we make of it, or life is what we do with the time we are given embodies the same sentiment as the commonly uttered “it is what it is.” I think these expressions are all obviously right and also wrong. For me, learning how to embrace and eloquently respond to the difficulty and universality of the simultaneity of right/good/true and wrong/bad/false is pretty much the crux of successful reality navigation. As such, I find it fun and useful to get into why I find much of what we do and say both on and off point. “It is what it is” is a useful heuristic as far as it prioritizes acceptance, which prioritizes moving on as quickly as possible. William James hits on this as well as anyone when he writes, “The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.” Yet “it is what it is” misses the mark in the sense that change is the only guarantee in life. Given time’s relentless sculpting of our thoughts, bodies, and relationships, you can just as easily say it is what it isn’t. Grant everyone you know the latitude to change.
#language #life #googleit #sunglasses #uncle #atlantic #sun #sand #water #drj #wisewords #thedash #change #1000til30