A Lesson of Life
Learned from a Cockroach

As we begin a new year, it seems that we would be well-served by spending a few moments thinking about 2017 and our futures in general.  While each of our pasts and presents are different and unique, we can't guarantee that we will be alive and kicking a decade from now or even this time next year.  George Burns and I were both born on January 20th.  His goal was to reach his 100th birthday and so is mine, which means I have twenty-six years to go.  Nonetheless, I have already danced with death twice in the past decade.  Based upon the two dances, my getting to the my 100th year isn't a sure thing.

Your personal journey down the yellow brick road of your life has not been smooth as silk either.  Therefore, before we journey too far and before it is too late, what can we say about our human nature and our will to survive?

One of the guideposts to our journey can be informed not by humans but by cockroaches.  Those detestable insects got their name from the English who angelized the Spanish word, cucaracha.   Whatever name you might prefer, they have been around as a pest for 320 million years.  Now, human beings have walked the Earth attempting to kill cockroaches for about 200,000 years.  In spite of this, cockroaches have a great survival instinct.  The following photo is the Madagascar hissing cockroach.

Description: http://www.unclebills.com/images/default-source/Style/madagascar-hissing-cockroaches.jpg?sfvrsn=0

This is a Madagascar hissing cockroach.

If you would like to discover the derivation of its name, watch this video.    

The next photo is of a Madagascar cockroach laying eggs.  A good delivery for a female Madagascar cockroach is about four dozen babies.

Description: http://clubfearless.us/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/2013-05-02-madagascar-cockroach-special-delivery-01_GalleryLarge.jpg

A cockroach laying eggs

However, what is interesting about cockroaches in general is something humans ought to take note.  A female cockroach will give birth even as she is being eaten by another prey.  Now, the following is a video of this phenomenon.  If you prefer not to watch this death of a mother cockroach, trust me, the mother successfully delivers her eggs.  Whether you watch it or not, it simply makes my point quite clear.

The cockroach has been around for 320 million years.  A part of their survival technique is an instinctive drive to provide the next generation of cockroaches.  If a cockroach is instinctively driven to deliver its offspring even though it is being eaten alive, what about us?  In this past decade, I have done the dance due to a traumatic brain injury and prostate cancer.  Trust me; while I wouldn't want to do either dance again, I wouldn't delete either dance from my life.  Dancing with death can be a transformative experience. 

Interestingly, doing the dance has positively changed a long list of other peoples' lives also. Here are some of the dancers: Randy Pausch, John Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Miguel Cervantes, Kurt Vonnegut, Steve Jobs, Alan Seeger, John Donne, Oliver Sacks, Saul Alinsky, Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, Alexander the Great, Professor Keating, William Forrester, Ebenezer Scrooge, Billy Pilgrim, Don Quixote, and Tom Brokaw. 

If you have never danced with death or you have but didn't recognize the benefits, watch Randy Pausch's Last Lecture.  I successfully did both dances but didn't recognize that I had until someone said that I needed to watch the Last Lecture. 

Here of a handful of suggestions that have become critically important to me having done the dances.  They are also suggestions that you can apply to your lives.  

  1. Organize the time that you have.
  2. Prioritize what is important in life.
  3. Enjoy your friends and family.
  4. Reach out to others, especially young children and assist them.
  5. Exercise daily, eat correctly, and see your doctor routinely.

On Seeing the Light

On Seeing the Light

Visit the On Seeing the Light page to read more about this topic.

Connecting The Dots

Connecting the Dots

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The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

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Dancing with Death

Dancing with Death

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My Hauntings

My Hauntings

Visit the My Hauntings page to read more about this topic.

Best of Times

Best and Worst of Times

Visit the Best and Worst of Times page to read more about this topic.