A dear, old friend of mine, Petr, is doing groundbreaking work in the field of neuroscience, studying music perception. Here's a nice [http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/content?oid=980807|profile] about him. I remember being an early test subject of his with electrodes on my head, listening to tones. He gave out delicious monster cookies to his test subjects afterwards.
The amazing thing about Petr is his enthusiasm and drive. Even as an undergrad, he really got into both his school work and playing music. (And skiing as well, but I never really saw much of that side.) On top of that, he's an all around nice guy.
I went to Carmen's memorial service last night. For the record, she was 45 when she died. I learned about how enthusiastically she approached life. She taught chemistry at Portland Community College, camped, snow-boarded, kick-boxed and went out of her way to be kind and generous to everyone she met. I think she and Petr had quiet a bit in common.
I really admire both of them and am inspired by their dedication and passion to living a good, curious, and beneficial life. It's easy for me to be critical of myself and feel like I've wasted a lot of time in comparison. But that's not the point. I'm not sure how Petr or Carmen learned to live how they did. Maybe it came naturally. But for the rest of us who struggle with finding the fire to live a full life, I think it's useful to approach it as a process of training oneself.
What does that mean? Practice every day. Have a plan. Make goals. And figure out how to enjoy it. Not easy, but as my mother would say, "no one ever said it was going to be easy."