We were playing a ‘1-night-special’ gig in Clontarf Yacht Club. The usual terms and conditions applied. A G&T, three pints of Heineken and an unsteady walk home. Out in the audience, beyond the spotlights, I could see the smiling face of Aidan Cronin (of Irish Rail fame). Now Aidan is one of life’s good guys and seems to have inherited a smile as a semi-permanent fixture (I don’t think he’s had any ‘work done’, but you can never be 100% certain and it’s not polite to ask). Either way, he always seems to be in good humour. Perhaps it’s the fact that he’s from Cork.
I attended a recent presentation when Ed O’Leary, another native of the Rebel County, put up a slide which showed a large map of Ireland. County Cork was highlighted (in red, of course) with a big arrow denoting the area as ‘Cork’ to help the non-nationals in the group. There was another arrow pointing to the rest of the country with the legend: ‘Not Cork’. They really have it bad down there. Anyway, getting back to live coverage….
BIG Birthday: At the Yacht Club bar, Aidan seemed more than usually chuffed. Turns out that he has a BIG birthday coming up and was planning to mark the occasion. What sort of things was he planning to ward off this potential mid-life crisis? Maybe buy an E-Type Jaguar (in red?) and get someone to restore this? Wouldn’t work for me. I’d need a Care Assistant to help me get in/out. Perhaps, like one guy I knew in the IFSC, he could bail off with a Latvian Underwear Model (Hello Boys!). Look, if you’re up for it, do it in style (post-script: he returned home 5 weeks later, somewhat tired and mega apologetic).
So, which of these options had Aidan chosen? Eh, none of the above. He was going to France on a ‘Bee Keepers’ course. Yes, you read it right, an ‘activity holiday’ that shows you how to keep bees. He told me that you can even visit the Blackrock Clinic, in advance, to get small doses of ‘bee venom’ injected to avoid anaphylactic shock if (when) you get stung. Not exactly Bear Grylls, is it? Personally I’d rather take a trip to Supervalue in Killester and pick up a jar of Boyne Valley Honey (3rd isle, centre shelf). There were endless pun possibilities (holiday would be a ‘Hive’ of activity and so on) which I was too gentlemanly to invoke.
Bucket List: Most people have heard about the movie ‘The Bucket List’ and understand the concept. We won’t be around forever. If there’s stuff that you want to do, there’s no time like the present. Later may be too late…. Then they go and book (another) package holiday to Torremolinos and have conversations with complete strangers like: “Excuse me. Sorry to be a nuisance. But, do you mind if our Beach Towels don’t actually overlap?” While you are trying to sort out ‘personal space’ issues in Spain, other people are doing really interesting stuff – trekking in a Cambodian rainforest or progressing a ‘social justice’ project with street kids in Venezuela. So, here’s the idea. Give yourself permission to be a bit extraordinary – even if it’s only for one holiday in one year. Tear up the normal playbook and do something different. While you might even like it, you will definitely like the fact that you haven’t become so predictable (boring) that you start to say things like: “We go to Paris every Easter, because I know exactly where to get the best crab claws and Pierre always looks after us”. Don’t just be ordinary. Take a risk and do something different. Take on the Bucket list – just skip getting cancer as your reason for doing it! Thanks Aidan for showing us the way.
I’ll buzz off now!
PS You couldn’t make it up. The last blog posted was about grabbing life with both hands. The following day, my sister Eileen died. She was 69 and had been sick for some time. Without being cold about this, it was a ‘happy release’ in the end from her suffering. By coincidence, on the same day Andrew Kinsella sent me the following poem:
A Life that Matters
Ready or Not, someday it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power, will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you owed.
Your grudges, resentments frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear.
So too your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists with expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important, will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from, or what side of the tracks you lived.
At the end, whether you were beautiful or brilliant, male or female, even your skin colour won’t matter.
So what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter, is not what you bought but what you built.
Not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter, is not your success but your significance.
What will matter, is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter, is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice, that enriched, empowered or encouraged others.
What will matter, is not how many people you know but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter, is not your memories but the memories that lived in those who loved you. Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of Circumstance but choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.
I thought about ‘leaving it there’ for this week – skipping the jokes – but Eileen was really great fun and would have enjoyed the following:
Golf is a Full-Contact Sport: Have a look at this clip (from Tim O’Neill) and – “be careful out there”
PPS Lighter Note: Maintenance Matter
Andrew O’Connell bkeeps sending me sexist jokes and he just won’t stop. There’s definitely a pattern of behaviour here and I’m at my wits end to know what to do about it. I just might have to escalate this and speak with someone from a legal background. Anyway, in the meantime, here’s Andrew’s latest missal …
A hotel guest calls the front desk and the clerk answers, “May I help you?”
The man says, “Yes, I’m in room 858. You need to send someone to my room immediately. I’m having a dreadful argument with my wife and she says she’s going to jump out of the window.”
The desk clerk says, “I’m sorry sir, but that’s a personal matter.”
The man replies, “Listen you idiot. The window won’t open… it’s a maintenance matter.”
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