Today my brother would have been 92 years old. He would never have lived this long. As it was, he outlived his father and grandfather by 20 years, thanks to his Viking ancestry. The maternal side of my family lives longer. I’m one of them, with few role models, older now than most of them lived. Uncharted territory. Stay with me. We still have a lot to learn.
I remember a writer-acquaintance - years ago now but much younger than I so I think she’s still alive - who made a new year’s resolution to do something different/something new every day that year. It could be as simple as to go down a street she had never walked on before, or to try a food new to her taste buds, or something more adventurous, like to try sky-diving.
That’s when I learned of her resolve. She wrote an article for a magazine we both contributed to, with an account of her experiences so far that year, chief among them being the sky-dive, accompanied by a photograph of her taken moments after she landed. She never looked more beautiful: vital, alive, exhilarated, and what today we would call mindful. Events like that remain with us all our lives, but other moments, less memorable, make up our final product, and they all count.
My brother and I were friends when we were at university. I was two years ahead and caught up with him because he had been in the army (WWII - too late for overseas duty). i cherish that time for we had not enjoyed each other before then. We had very different outlooks on life. I was a glass-half-full and he a glass-half-empty. His favourite comment on anything that happened, for good or ill, was, “It couldn’t matter less.”
I thought of him when I saw the effect of a sky-dive, and again now when I remembered it. It did matter and it still does.