A lifelong friend from Berlin died in June at the age of 59. A California resident at the time he passed away, his west coast memorial service has come and gone. His east coast memorial service will be held locally in a few weeks.
I’m delivering the eulogy at the service. I’ve done these before and will, undoubtedly, do them again. Having spent much of my professional life in court, I analogize the eulogy to a closing argument, or statement, about someone’s life. I find it, paradoxically, both a high honor and a somber task.
When I started to draft my eulogy for the friend I met in the fourth grade 50 years ago, I was reminded of the poem by Linda Ellis titled “The Dash.” It states, in part, “I read of a man who stood to speak at a funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning…to the end. He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.”
You know I’m slightly passionate about fitness and wellness, for many reasons. One of the biggest? Simply stated, I want to elongate the dash.
Selfish? I think not. I look at it as a gift to the people I love. I want a long dash to grow old with my wife. I want a long dash to see my daughters live long and prosper, and be an active and fully committed part of their long lives. I want a long dash to see my daughters’ children live long and prosper.
I also want a long dash to continue to give back to the community and to knock off a few things on the bucket list, like visit the Grand Canyon and hike the Appalachian Trail.
Paying attention to my fitness and wellness helps me elongate the dash. Does it work? A research article published in late July in the American Heart Association’s Circulation Journal found that people who got extra exercise had a lower mortality rate compared to those who did not. I think that’s a yes.
A lower mortality rate? That sounds like a win, so why not spend some time elongating, not shortening, the dash?
Carl Ficks helps busy professionals and their teams get back in the fitness game to reduce stress and increase productivity. He practiced law in New Britain for many years and is a proud member of the Generale Ameglio Society. He has run and cycled thousands of miles and competed in dozens of races, so when you're ready to get back in the game, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.