Stories have the power to move and enrich us beyond what we can imagine. Thinking about the play "Death of a Salesman" that we’re reading in class and what it can teach us about life; I ruminate over the line, “Life is a casting off.”

We all know that innately, but for some reason the way it is phrased jolted my heart. Then seeing the movie "Endgame" Ironman says, “Part of the journey is the end.”

Using both quotes for the upcoming lesson was a definitive moment for all.

Every one of us on Earth takes a journey to the end of our lives, but not everyone will look back positively. Why? All too often we mold ourselves into others’ dreams, too afraid and insecure to pursue own our desires.

We live a boxed in life: we ride in a car, boxed in; we work in a room, boxed in; and we live in a house, boxed in; “The way they boxed us in here. Bricks and windows, windows and bricks…There’s not a breath of fresh air … ” the despairing Willy Loman says.

The advertising world is getting rich selling the idea of more. They know people are desperate for quick relief without thinking about the cost financially or emotionally. Sadly, always chasing the newest as deemed by the marketers, is a journey to a boxed-in wasted life. The only ones winning are the shareholders.

Our birth year is fixed, the end date isn’t; the dash in the middle is what defines our lives. Our choices in life dictate the path our journey takes. When we live with the end in mind it casts off fear of what other’s think about us. We’re more willing to step out and be ourselves, the gift the world doesn’t know yet.

How do we do it? Accept that life is a casting off — governments, fashion, jobs, everything — and move forward. In 100 years from now, there’ll be all new people. That’s sobering. What remains is what we’ve contributed to our families and society by using our talents well.

One of my favorite authors to teach this idea is Henry David Thoreau’s “Economy” and “What I’m Living For” from "Walden." He says, “Men labor under mistake. The better part of the man is soon ploughed into the soil for compost” because they put their treasures on things that don’t last.

There’s “no time to be anything but a machine.”

The truth spoken, but a lie we’ve been sold from the top dogs, to work only for the getting. Our lives are frittered away with meaningless endeavors and endless consumerism. I have nothing against creating a comfortable financial life, but to not know when enough is enough comes at the expense of our freedom to live with a wide-margin and room to breathe.

It becomes the chains we can’t unloose until it’s too late. Who wants to get to the end and realize that they’re going to their graves with the music still in them?

Leslie Cappiello is an educator in Galveston.

(1) comment

Mark Stevens

And, given her column, a very fine educator at that!!

Mark W. Stevens

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