When I think of my father one of the first things that comes to mind is Big Fish.
No, not the band (I’m looking at you, Keith), but the 2003 movie directed by Tim Burton.
One thing that I love about my dad is that he knows what he likes. And if he likes something, he can sometimes overindulge in it. So when he discovered the movie Big Fish, he began to play it on repeat in our home. Lucky for my thirteen year old self, this movie was right up my alley.
For those who are unfamiliar, the movie (in a nutshell) is about the relationship between a father and son. The son, Will Bloom, is unable to fully trust his father, Edward, due to his elaborate stories. One of these stories was of how as a little boy, Edward found a witch who had a glass eye. By looking into her eye, Edward was able to see how he would die. He accepted his fate and because of it, was able to live a spectacular life and passed on his experiences to his son through his storytelling.
Today I was typing a death certificate when I came to the section that required me to input the age of the deceased. I had not met with the family, so I was learning about the deceased, line by line. When I typed in his age, sixty years old, I stopped and immediately looked to see the cause of death. You see, I get taken aback whenever someone young passes away. My curious mind wanted to know what stopped this man’s heart from beating.
Sixty is a good age. Retirement is not far off. Most people are finished raising their children when they’re sixty. Life can become yours again. So to me, it felt unfair that this man was being cheated. And then I thought of my dad, right around the same age. And then I thought of the movie Big Fish.
And I thought to myself, if this man could have seen how and when he would die, would he have? Would knowing when his time was up have helped him to live his life more fully? Or would it have been like a ticking clock in his rear view mirror, slowly counting down the minutes? What would you choose?
I know what I would do. I would look at that witch and keep on walking. Because one thing that I love most about life is how unpredictable it is. Sure, knowing when I would die would allow me to try certain things without fear, like Edward. But I love the saying, “Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.” I love unwrapping that bow. I love the suspense. And God willing, I want to see what’s next.
I don’t want to make my life count because my time is running out. I want my life to count because I choose to make it count; everyday, no matter what. I want to go out and catch it; life. The biggest fish.