In Case You Haven't Read The Label, Life Comes With Side Effects

Life…! What is it, how do we define it, and how are we supposed to live it? Prophets and poets have been raising and answering those questions from the very first tribal bonfires to the latest Huffington post. But more to the point, how do you and I handle these hot-coal questions for ourselves?

For those of us who find them in the theater, the consensus of our favorite playwrights is pretty grim. Shakespeare: “Life is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing!” Chekhov: “Life is a tragedy filled with joys.” Williams: “Life has meaning if you’re bucking for heaven; but if heaven is a fantasy, we’re living in a jungle.”

Here’s a handy checkpoint in your script of life — summertime and how you handle its ending.

The hints arrive every late August. There’s this repressed sensation that the best hours of the year are coming to an end. Oh, there’s nothing at all wrong with autumn, for its palette of burnished colors is extraordinary. But the brooding white and wickedness of another winter looms, reminding us that all good things must come to an end.

Summer is what life ought to be. Ripe, green, bursting with warmth, light and love. Most of us do our very best living and dreaming in our splendid Junes and Julys. There’s this sense of release from routine and freedom from fear, all packaged inside those lazier rhythms. Now, however, the days of vacation are dwindling down to a precious few, and the chalky smell of stern class and conference rooms fills the air.

When you think about it, no one asked us to audition for this role in the world. We just happen to find ourselves in the cast of a great planetary drama with perhaps a few passing lines of dialog. If its summer is what life ought to be, then its summer ending may be a prologue to its epilogue. And if calling your attention to such side effects stir you up a little….well, very likely the playwright had that in mind

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