Life Is Short. Opera Is Long.
“Life Is Short. Opera Is Long.”
I saw that on a T-shirt once. It made me laugh out loud. Having never been a fan of opera (sorry, opera lovers), I got quite a kick out of it, because the idea of sitting in a theater and watching large costumed people sing in a foreign language falsetto at the top of their lungs for four hours seems somewhat tantamount to torture to me.
Of course, at the time, I missed a couple of the deeper meanings of that shirt. Looking back on it today, I see a couple of distinct messages at work in that shirt’s slogan.
“Life is short,” the shirt said. Boy, isn’t that the truth? Every day, I look back at the day before it and wonder exactly where it went and how it got there so fast. I’m trying desperately to hold on to the hope that I won’t one day blink and wake up and find that another 20 years of my life have gone by, although I suspect that’s inevitable. So I try (and sometimes I succeed more than others) to really live life unafraid. It’s not that I’m going out skydiving or quitting my job to follow a music group around the country, but I really have spent the past several years of my life trying to open myself up to new things, whether it’s trying a new food or a new genre of music on my iPod, or adopting a new attitude or taking on a new challenge. It’s not always easy, but I can tell you one thing it has always been: rewarding.
And that leads me to the “Opera is long” portion of the shirt. In all honesty, I still have yet to sit through an opera. The difference is, now if the opportunity ever arises, I might just give it a shot. Do I think I’ll fall in love with it and suddenly become an opera aficionado? Probably not. But I’ll never know for sure unless I try it out. I mean, really, what’s the worst that can happen? I lose a few hours to a new and potentially interesting experience that didn’t turn out to be as enjoyable as I hoped. That’s not the end of the world as far as I see it. So don’t be surprised if one of these days you run into me in full tuxedo and white gloves at some big opera event; I might just have decided that the time had come to try something new.
And, hey, maybe after all this, the shirt was just meant to be funny, and I’m purely extrapolating deeper meanings here. But I’m choosing to look at it as a reminder that the world’s a big, exciting place and that life is too short not to at least try to experience as much of it as I can.
After all, what have I got to lose?
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