By Azra Qaisar:
Tuesdays with Morrie is a philosophical memoir, written by Mitch Albom about his teacher. The book focuses on the relationship of the author with his teacher whose words turn his life around. Morrie was Mitch Albom’s professor in college but he lost touch with him, only to come to know nearly twenty years later that his teacher is dying. He visits him every Tuesday and Morrie helps him understand some of the most complex problems of life.
The following are seven quotes taken from this chronicle that can be quite an inspiration:
“The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. We’re teaching the wrong things. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. Create your own.”
We know things are wrong. We know they need to be changed but what we don’t understand is that we are the ones who can bring the change. This advice that Morrie gives Mitch stands true in many situations, especially where culture is given more importance than the lives of the people it impacts. The culture is not perfect. It has been created by people and people can be wrong. If things are not going as they should, they need to be corrected.
“Everyone knows they are going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.”
These words of a dying man stand true for almost everyone. Everybody knows death is inevitable but yet people fail to take out time for things that really matter. We think we know that death is a part of life but we fail in living our lives accordingly. Living in fear of death is not the answer; the answer is living life to the fullest and accepting that it shall end.
“I thought about all the people I knew who spent many of their waking hours feeling sorry for themselves. How useful it would be to put a daily limit on self-pity. Just a few tearful minutes, then on with the day.”
It is OKAY to be sad but one need not dwell upon the sad part. In the book, Morrie had been diagnosed with ALS and had just a few months to live yet he didn’t stop living his life with the same zeal. He believed that it is important to look at the positive side of life instead of brooding over the sad side of it. “Why me?” is not the solution to any problem, it is a whole new problem altogether.
“We need to forgive ourselves. For all the things we didn’t do. All the things we should have done. You can’t get stuck on the regrets of what should have happened”
In the book, Mitch is not quite happy with the way he has lived his life and Morrie offers him this piece of wisdom. One is often told not to hold grudges and practice forgiveness. Forgiving others is the easy part, what is hard is forgiving oneself. Yes, you could have done so much had a certain thing not happened or you could have been so much better had you not made that one decision but here’s the thing, not everything is within control. Thinking about it won’t change a thing but a better attitude and outlook for future might do the trick.
“Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth.”
In the book, there is a scene where Mitch asks Morrie if he was afraid to grow old, to which Morrie answers by saying that he embraces aging. He sees himself as every age up to his own. Aging is not synonymous with useless. Age brings experience with it. One learns as one grows old. Looking back makes you competitive. And, age is not a competitive issue.
“In the beginning of life, when we are infants, we need others to survive, right? And at the end of life, when you get like me, you need others to survive, right? But here’s the secret: In between, we need others as well.”
Morrie is a man who is surrounded by a loving family and he understands how lucky he is. He knows that his last days would have been much harder had his loved ones been away from him. His words re-establish the fact that no man is an island that can look after itself. We need others and others need us.
“None of us can undo what we’ve done, or relive a life already recorded. But if Professor Morris Schwartz taught me anything at all, it was this: there is no such thing as “too late” in life. He was changing until the day he said good-bye.”
Morrie changes Mitch’s life in many ways but the most important thing he teaches him is to not give up and live life fully. He teaches him to hang on but also to know when to let go. Morrie Schwartz was dying but he still did not give up living his life at its best. He believed in change and that is something everyone needs to believe in. Change is not easy but that’s how one grows and learns.