“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” — Mahatma Gandhi; Tuesdays with Morrie, p. 129
For the longest time, I’ve been wanting to take Not Vincenzo in a new direction – this blog will remain a fashion blog first, but I’m also going to start discussing ideas and getting into deep conversations about topics that are so much more important than the outfit I decided to wear one day. Most posts will still have fashion photos to accompany the topic of discussion, some may not.
The first turning point in this realization came when one of my best friends was helping me through a personal crisis. She sent me this quote that really changed my perspective and made me think about who I was and how I chose to live. That quote was by Eleanor Roosevelt: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” That quote has been pinned to the top of my personal Twitter account ever since.
Now let’s rewind. In middle school, I fell in love with Mitch Albom’s book “The Five People You Meet In Heaven.” I read it in approximately two hours. For someone who has never had a lot of time to read and has always picked TV over books, my seventh grade self was surprised that a book could be so entrancing. When I heard about Albom’s other book Tuesdays with Morrie, I knew that would be top priority for me to read next.
I failed myself. I was in seventh grade in 2007. It’s now 2016 and in a combined 2.5 hours over the last few days, I’ve finally read Tuesdays with Morrie. And let me tell you, I was getting looks from the people on the bus as I’m sitting there balling my eyes out as I reached the end. But don’t worry, while some of the tears may have been sad ones, most were happy and inspired tears.
This book has changed my worldview once again. I’m inspired by its words. And while it’s a story about an old professor on his deathbed and his relationship with a former student, the story shared here is transcendent. It’s pertinent to my life right now and to our lives as a society, especially given our current climate filled with constant hate crimes, terrorist attacks and a ridiculous orange troll running for president.
If you haven’t already read this book, I highly suggest you take an hour or two out of your upcoming week and read it. Appreciate it. Take it in. If you don’t, I’ll be leaving some of the most transformative passages below in the order they appeared in the book as well as the interviews with Morrie himself from the early nineties before his time on earth was up.
“The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.” p. 42
In the context of well-off patients in a mental hospital: “Most of the patients [were] made to feel that they didn’t exist… And many of these patients were well-off, from rich families, so their wealth did not buy them happiness or contentment. It was a lesson [Morrie] never forgot.” p. 111
“And, in addition to all the miseries, the young are not wise. They have very little understanding about life. Who wants to live every day when you don’t know what’s going on? When people are manipulating you, telling you to buy this perfume and you’ll be beautiful, or this pair of jeans and you’ll be sexy — and you believe them! It’s such nonsense.” p. 118
“It’s very simple. As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.” p. 118
“Giving to other people is what makes me feel alive. Not my car or my house. Not what I look like in the mirror. When I give my time, when I can make someone smile after they were feeling sad, it’s as close to healthy as I ever feel.” p. 128
“Do the kinds of things that come from the heart. When you do, you won’t be dissatisfied, you won’t be envious, you won’t be longing for somebody else’s things. On the contrary, you’ll be overwhelmed with what comes back.” p. 128
In regards to culture/sub-cultures: “I don’t mean you disregard every rule of your community. I don’t go around naked, for example. I don’t run through red lights. The little things, I can obey. But the big things — how we think, what we value — those you must choose for yourself. You can’t let anyone — or any society — determine those for you.” p. 155
“Invest in the human family. Invest in people. Build a little community of those who love and who love you.” p.157
“’In the Beginning of life, when we are all infants, we need others to survive, right? And at the end of life, when you get like me, you need others to survive, right?’ His voice dropped to a whisper. ‘But here’s the secret: in between, we need others as well.’” p. 157
“‘Be compassionate,’ Morrie whispered. ‘And take responsibility for each other. If we only learned those lessons, this world be so much better a place.’ He took a breath, then added his mantra: ‘Love each other or die.’” p. 163
“As long as we can love each other, and remember the feeling of love we had, we can die without ever really going away. All the love you created is still there.” p. 174
“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” p.174
“None of us can undo what we’ve done, or relive a life already recorded. But if Professor Morris Schwartz taught me anything at all, it was this: there is no such things as ‘too late’ in life. He was changing until the day he said good-bye.” p.190
The three respective interviews compiled into one video, take a look:
For more information on Morrie, you can check out author Mitch Albom’s site.