Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Perfect Day and Tuesdays with Morrie

On my flight to California, I read lots as usual. Uneventful flight which is always good. Now, I am trying to keep up with full days of meetings and still teh usual email load.

My seatmate on the flight to California commented that the book she was reading was excellent so I asked if I could read it. It was "Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson" by Mitch Albom. It was great to read a book that was out of the genre of books I would usually read. The book is a tear jerker. The old man, Morrie, is not that old. He is a professor who has ALS - a terrible degenerative disease. It tells a number of lessons one of his students learns as the professors health progressively gets worse. In time, Morrie learns to value the dependency he must have just to get by in life. So much energy in life is spent fighting for Independence.

I realize on an intellectual level that we are all dying. The book really drove it home. Having ALS brought this into focus for Morrie and I think caused him to have more clarity about what was truly important.

"Look at the view out that window." Morrie says. "I appreciate it more than you do. I appreciate it because I'm losing it . . . The living have it backwards. They value their work and their possessions and their money when in the end, it's only nature, and as I said before, love, that satisfies." "Everyone knows they're going to die, but nobody believes it. . . . To know you're going to die, and to be prepared for it at any time, is better. That way you can be more involved in your life while you're living."

I liked that the old man wanted his tombstone to say "Teacher to the End" which is partly why he spent his Tuesdays with the author trying to impart wisdom.

He spoke of the perfect day. I have often done an exercise where I lay out what a perfect day is for me. Of course being the ambitious sort, it would take 36 hours to do everything I would want in a perfect day but... I find this allows me to have closer to perfect days and helps me to focus. I highly suggest this to anyone who wants more from life.


At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Jim. Its good to be reminded of the importance of putting life in perspective.
I read a quote not long ago...
"Life's not a rehearsal". Seems that Morrie figured that out!!

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jim,
great post and ironic timing; I just picked up the book this week and read the first chapter last night.
Reminds us not to put things off we can do today, as there isn't always going be a tomorrow.

At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I honestly think this is the best post you have. Morries insights are words to live by. My dad always says, ( among some of his sayings.) you're dead a long time.
Keeps things in perspective.

have a great week.

At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jim,
Even though we talked about it on the flight it was still nice to read your thoughts on the book, I look forward to your insight on "The five people you meet in heaven". Also I want the name of your daughter's book so I can read it to mine.

At 9:53 PM, Blogger Jim Estill said...

My daughter, Laura's book is "Guinevere"

At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Laurie Pringle said...

Hi Jim... I work for the ALS Society of Canada and happened across your blog on Tuesdays with Morrie.

I hope you don't mind my commenting here - but I thought you might be interested to know that we are hosting the May 8th opening night of Tuesdays with Morrie, starring Hal Linden (Barney Miller) in Toronto.

Proceeds will go to our charitable efforts to fund research and treatments for people with ALS.

Please feel free to contact me at if you'd like to know more.


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