Elizabeth Taylor 1932 - 2011
If we ever bothered to stop and reflect upon life for a moment, we probably would agree that there are far more important things in the world than having: an artifact of a house; fame; a swanky car (or a fleet of them); an in-season wardrobe; absolute power; and a bottom-less pit of money. Elizabeth Taylor, Muammar Gaddafi, Steve Jobs, Amy Winehouse, John Paul Getty III and Peter Falk, who all passed away during 2011, had some of these trappings of success. But death knows no status.
Some of us think that the mark of success is material wealth. How many cars do you have? How many homes do you have? What kind of social circles do you move in? What private schools do your children attend? Do children of other high net worth individuals attend this school? It really is an endless list.
Oftentimes, we fall helplessly in love – sometimes to the point of obsession – with the public persona of celebrities we know very little about. For instance, despite his laudable musical accomplishments and his global public fascination, Michael Jackson, like the rest of us, had his own personal problems. As he couldn’t sleep naturally, he was happy to pay a doctor $150,000 a month to help him achieve something that really should be natural and free.
Muammar Gaddafi 1942 - 2011
Some of us relish power. For whatever reason, we think we are the best person to eradicate the ills of the society we live in. But history has proved that in some instances, no sooner than ordinary power is attained, the pursuit of tyrannical power sometimes becomes an obsession.
Times change and so do sentiments. Even our own individual experiences would have taught us that nothing in life is permanent. It’s no state secret that the late Muammar Gaddafi wasn’t always the enemy of the West or disliked by his people. However, when he eventually lost his 42-year tight grip on Libya, even his material trappings couldn’t avert his sad and gruesome end.
Most of us have an inherent dislike of death. But while this post isn’t meant to be an ode to death, or a dream-killer, it is a reminder that money, fame and other trappings of success aren’t everything. There are more important things in life and thankfully they are free: good health, happiness, family, cuddles, trust, friends, children, relationships, God, air, water, sleep, fond memories and unconditional love, to name but a few.
May the souls of those mentioned in this post rest blissfully. Long life and good health to the rest of us.