Monday, November 4, 2013

Wanted: A Reason to Live

One man's raison d'etre.
Life's funny. Some people are into this, while others are into that. My friend Debra is one of that rarefied group commonly known as birders. Along with many others, she counts birds in the sky. In the past she has caught many of them in order to put bands on their little ankles, then released them so that other birders somewhere else can see where they've been. Or something like that. This is her raison d'etre and it dominates her thoughts, whereas I don't care at all how many of which birds there are in the sky, I only care if the ones clustered on my backyard feeder like the kind of bird seed I offer. If not, I adjust accordingly. That's about it for me and birds.

Last night I watched a mesmerizing documentary film called Jiro Dreams of Sushi, about a guy (Jiro) who is so into making sushi that he dreams about it. Now 85 years old, Jiro started making sushi as a child and then dedicated his life to perfecting it, eventually opening his own award-winning restaurant in Tokyo. Every day, all day, he presses sliced fish onto little pads of rice, then brushes them with soy sauce and places them on marble slabs, to be eaten by sushi aficionados who can afford his outrageous prices which start at about $300 per dinner. The movie was fun to watch, opening a window into the individual mania of this one man for whom sushi is the reason to get up every day.

As Jiro says, "to live a successful life you must dedicate yourself to mastering your skill." A raison d'etre is now at the top of my must-have list. I might already have one, but I'm not 100% sure.

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