"It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it."
As we dissect the riots and the $1 billion security bill for the G20 meeting; as the stock market plunges and BP continues its third month of working to fix a hole in the floor of the ocean where the oil pours out; and as the asphalt plant saga drags on, pay parking kicks in and rumours of Russian billionaires are floated through the media, a moment's pause to put the great issues of the day in perspective.
In the span of four days last week, within the close confines of Whistler, and the even tinier circle of Pique Newsmagazine , in chronological order we: celebrated the healthy birth of a child, the (combined) 150 th birthday of a truly royal couple, and mourned the death of a great friend. Great potential, great achievements and great loss.
The G20, the stock market - that stuff erodes a bit of the quality from our lives. But then there are the moments that feel like a needle has been driven straight into our hearts. Sometimes the needle carries adrenaline; sometimes it's poison.
The four days last week reaffirmed some pretty basic, everything-I-need-to-know-I-learned-in-Kindergarten lessons.
• We never really get anywhere or achieve very much all on our own. Almost always there are others who helped get us to where we are.
• Mountains, forests, bears are all nice, but it's people who make a community. It's the people who make a place special and make life worthwhile.
• Life is too short to waste any of it.
We often hear of lifetime achievements, lives spent in the pursuit of one goal or another. "A lifetime" sounds like a long time but it depends on the context. As of today, July 1, one Whistlerite's lifetime is only seven days. Her accomplishments to date have been pretty basic but she holds the potential to do great things.
The 150-year-old couple have achieved more than most of us could in a dozen lifetimes. Tributes Saturday from friends and family, people of all ages around the globe, were testament to their roles in so many lives. Always curious, always looking to the future, they have the energy and ideas to fill several more lifetimes.
"Life is long if you know how to use it," said the Roman philosopher Seneca. Peter and Trudy Alder know how to use it.
So did Marlene Siemens. Sixteen years ago she and Max gave up the corporate world of banking to come and live simply in Whistler. It was a life choice they never regretted, but one they reflected upon and were even more grateful to have made after Marlene was diagnosed with cancer last year.
An inquisitive bundle of energy, Marlene was also a first rate accountant who jumped in to ensure Pique 's financial matters were in order after my wife, Kathy, died. For the last two and a half years Marlene has overseen Pique 's financial health. She was also one of a handful of people keeping an eye on my mental health.
Within the pages of Pique we have, over the years, attempted to sum up the lives of dozens of Whistler people in a few hundred words. The best efforts are never enough to capture all the flare and nuances of individuals. Words, even skillfully used, can show only a fraction of a person's character.
And so it is with these words and the lives that began, were celebrated, and ended over four days last week.
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