For as long as I can remember, my grandfather shared books with me that he thought I would enjoy. Every time, the book he suggested was great and one I could not put down. My favorite was “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom.
After not staying in contact with his former professor Morrie Schwartz for 15 years, Albom, who narrates the book, rediscovers Schwartz through a news special that showed that he was terminally ill with ALS. Soon after, Albom starts to visit Schwartz every Tuesday until his final day. During the time they spend together, Schwartz teaches Albom different things he has learned as someone who is dying.
While this true story is sad as Albom watches his professor slowly die, he learns a lot from watching, speaking and spending time with Schwartz. Quickly, Albom and Schwartz’s relationship changes from that of a professor and student to two friends. Albom brings food, spends hours in Schwartz’s house and starts to look forward to going to Schwartz’s house rather than going about his own life at home.
The lessons Schwartz teaches Albom are those that we should all have the chance to learn. They help us understand how to make the most out of our lives, encouraging us to spend quality time with loved ones and live each day to our fullest potential. While these lessons seem like those we have heard before, Schwartz goes into detail as to why they are important and have helped him embrace the reality of dying.
Schwartz feels that he could leave Earth thinking he lived a fulfilled life. One thing he mentions a few times throughout the book was the idea of being physically present with others. Schwartz is always attentive toward who he was talking to, even when the illness starts to make him incredibly weak. He thrives off of being able to connect with others. He teaches Albom to always pay attention to the others he is with. What if the conversation is one of your last with a loved one? You would probably want to be able to remember that conversation forever.
Now with technology readily available and serving as the primary way to communicate with others outside of our family unit, in-person interactions are even more meaningful. Instead of checking your phone when you are with another person, leave it be. Be attentive and take in the idea of being present with another human being. Your phone will be there when you are done, but your friend may not.
Schwartz also emphasizes the importance of being happy and feeling loved. He tells Albom that money doesn’t buy true happiness by saying, “If you’re trying to show off for people at the top, forget it. They will look down at you anyhow. And if you’re trying to show off for people at the bottom, forget it. They will only envy you. Status will get you nowhere. Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between everyone.”
As a person that worked his way up in the workplace, Albom needs to hear from someone that lived a meaningful life that there is more to life than making money. In Schwartz’s mind, friends, relationships and love are what matter most.
For college students, the lessons taught in “Tuesdays With Morrie” are those that we should learn now as we are entering the real world in the near future. While success is great, Schwartz’s emphasis on preserving meaningful relationships and making the most out of each day are important to keep in the back of our minds as we live our busy lives.
Take the time to have an uninterrupted conversation with a friend safely in person or on video chat, step away from your computer screen and work for a bit to do something that you love and reach out to a loved one that you miss.
Like Schwartz says, “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in,” and in my opinion, love is invaluable.
Thank you, Papa, for recommending this book and helping to remind me to always make time for myself and others so I can make the most out of my life.