How Do You Live Your Dash?

Posted by Michael Michelini on Mar 21 2010

my father just emailed me a scanned copy of this, and it really makes you think….want to share it and reflect a bit.

I’ll type it out if you have trouble reading it:

Subject: How Do You Live Your Dash?
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning….. to the end
He noted he first came to her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years. (1900 – 1970)

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on this earth…
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own:
The cars…the house…the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard….
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider whats true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile….
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

Author Linda Ellis

how-you-spent-your-dash

Being a Sunday afternoon especially makes me sit and think…..as Sundays I think we all kind of reflect about the past week and the week ahead. Are there things I should be doing differently in my life? Again and again I feel I want to spend more time with my family back home, but I know I am doing my best to build a business here in China.

I know my parents, sister, family & friends understand – but as my grandmother grows old, and I speak to her on the phone sometimes….I wish I could spend more time with her and understand the life she lived. I do have my childhood memories, taking a saturday morning drive to see Nana & Papa (grandmother and grandfather), watching the baseball games with my grandfather and dad, playing some baseball catch with my uncle in the backyard, some evening barbecues. But I am out here in China fighting for my future, for opportunity, for my next generation to have freedom and a good life. So I cannot double think why I am here, and why I am doing this.

But living our DASH….I like that….and thinking how people will speak of your DASH when you are dead. Thinking of death always makes us think more completely about our daily life.

Revision, Aug 1, 2010 – I received an email today that this poem was not “author unknown” and actually written by Linda Ellis. Thanks Maria for emailing me

  • lammy

    that’s what i was thinking abt when i started to plan for my europe trip.. hopefully nth special’d happen, otherwise i may hav to go back to hk immediately…

    i was talkin abt my grandma 2..i havnt told her abt my europe trip yet..coz she wouldnt b happy. she’s nearly 90…n i always feel like i should spend more time wit her…n she’s in hk!..

    besides..i dun really hav much to worry abt leaving hk.. ;P

    i remember how much i missed hk when i was in england. tho, it’s a must to b there as i’d to get my degree.

    go back hm sometimes if u can ;) this’ what u can do atm. x

    n live our lives!!! keep rocking n rolling hoho~
    stay happy n positive !

  • http://mikesblog.com mike

    yea, I’ll be back to USA in September / October…..Hope that is soon enough to keep the family relations happy!!!!

    As far as your Europe trip, it may be a bit of cultural differences in Hong Kong and USA, but I think the family should support you! so you are sure it would be 2 solid years never comin back to HK?

  • lammy

    yea hk n USA of course’s cultural differences but my family’s special fm others. i can do whatever i want as my mum knows no one can block me fm doing anything i want ;P so no matter what i do, as long as i’m happy they’d support~

    well it’s a 2 yr working visa so, the max i can stay is 2 yrs n if i travel around it’ll b 3 more months at least. so well, nth’s certain yet as god knows what’d happen when i’m there~ ;P

    but for sure it’d b fun n adventurous as always hoho

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  • http://mikesblog.com mike

    good luck Lammy,
    I think you have to go for it, and just take the 2 years trip…

    in life, its easier to ask forgiveness then to ask for permission…..

    it will make you a more cultured and open minded person..

    though you already are pretty much

  • raymondQu

    aha Mike, you a in part of my dash ————–

  • http://mikesblog.com mike

    Thanks Raymond!! yes, its great we are living in some of our dash together!!

    cheers

  • mark

    Life is a roller coaster of never ending problems and issues, having the proper tools helps in the decision process of choosing the correct course of action never forgetting that actions have consequences. Critical thnking and listening skills-being able to respond effectively so others fully understand your position is equally required when dealing with complex issues. ‘LIFE GROWS ON’

  • http://mikesblog.com mike

    I like that – LIFE GROWS ON!
    because we cannot take these material possessions with us when we die…we are only what we have passed of ourselves to our friends and family……how we are remembered…

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  • Dana Bain

    This is so true. We never take the time to think about the unthinkable.

  • Dana Bain

    this is so true. We have no guarantees and this  poem on how to live is one we should consider.

  • http://mikesblog.com Michael Michelini

    Yes…..life is short…

    Our dash is short ..

    Make the best of it

  • Auctions

    Have you paid a copyright fee for this poem? If not you need to take it down now. 

  • http://mikesblog.com Michael Michelini

    copyright? giving credit to the author and sharing with the world

  • April Brown

    Michael, this is a courtesy notice to you. There are thousands of people who have posted this poem that are getting copyright notices from Linda Ellis. I am part of a movement to keep people in your position safe and from becoming a victim of this authors’ agressive tactics. Please feel free to email me and I will send you the legal-looking documents I have received from Linda Ellis. http://www.aprilbrown.com/copyright-infringement-the-das/
    I hope you will re-consider and remove this post asap. My guess is that you are already on the list via a screen capture of this post. When you finally hear from John Jolin, please contact us and share your story on our blog. 

  • http://mikesblog.com Michael Michelini

    Hi April
    Its hard to believe an author of such a beautiful poem would be so cold….
    I am living my dash. My life. And if i ever write something as beautiful as this I will want everyone to share it throughout the world.

    I will await this lawyer letter or whatever it is.

    I have shared this to filipinos and chinese who have no idea what this poem is…and i M sure it had a positive influence on them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rluich Robin Cain Luich

    This was a poem my mother read to me from her computer shortly before she died.I think it was her way of telling mye not to waste my life on the things,but focus on the really important people in my life and this world.This is my last post before closing Facebook.I’m spending time with people not a tablet or computer.Because people and Love are truly the most important part of my life.

About Mike

American internet dude living in China (since '07) helping western companies leverage Chinese social media for business.

Passionate for working with more like-minded internet entrepreneurs. Love international business & connecting, and working on ways to give hard working people global opportunities. (Read More...)

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