So here's what I wanted to tell you today :
"Get a life. A real life. Not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you'd care so much about those things if you blew an aneuryam one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast? Get a life in which you notice the smell of the salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red tailed hawk circle over the water or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her tumb and first finger. Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work.
Pick up the phone. Send an e-mail. Write a letter. Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Take the money that you would spent on beers and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good, then doing well will never be enough. It is so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours, our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of our kid's eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of to live.
I learned to live many years ago. I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and try to give some of it back because I believed in it, completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned. By telling them this :
Consider the lilies of the field. Read in the backyard with the sun on your face. Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness, because if you do, you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived."