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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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My brother loved Star Trek. He and Ruth didn't at first, though...I remember them groaning whenever I had it on ("can't we watch something ELSE?"). Then he got hooked on it, even more so than I did, especially the music. He bought the soundtracks to all the movies, could hum the prevalent soundtrack theme if you gave him the name of a Classic Trek episode. I even have a sound clip of him humming the "Pon Farr" theme on my computer, and from time to time I'll de-archive it for a listen. Strange, hearing my brother's voice coming from my computer. At the end of the clip, he gives a half-laugh and says, "Ack" because he has screwed up one of the last notes. :-)

The first time we went into Jim's and Diane's house after they died was very strange. Laundry still draped over the basket, bed unmade, food in the fridge. And in the tool/laundry room was an unfinished model of the Enterprise...a huge thing with electrical wires connected to lights that would eventually (when the model was finished) represent the lit windows of the ship and bridge. Jim's favourite ST movie was Wrath Of Khan (my favourite, too!).

Jim had been working on his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo when he and his wife Diane were killed in a car accident six years ago today. His professor and friends at the university (with my family's cooperation) got a fund established in their name for promising engineering students: The Jim and Diane Ohi Memorial Fund.

Sometimes I find myself speculating about what Jim would be doing today, had he lived. What he'd be like, how many children he and Diane would have had (they had been married just over a year when they died and hadn't started thinking about starting a family yet), how different my family gatherings would have been. But I usually stop myself from speculating too much because inevitably it just makes me sad.

It's tough sometimes, not dwelling on "what-ifs". We all go through that sometimes, don't we? I think some people never get themselves out of that mindset, and spend their lives full of regret, wishing things could have been different.

I refuse to be like that. In fact, the tragedies in my life have only made me appreciate life that much more. It's one reason I hate wasting time (and get impatient with people who waste time) and try not to spend too much energy on worrying about things which ultimately aren't worth it in the long run. Too much good stuff to do, too little time. :-)

I'd be interesting in hearing any of your "how to live your life to the fullest" philosophies. Maybe I'll compile them into a list and post them on a separate page for all our inspiration. :-) Anyway, I'll end with a few more of mine:

Debbie's Life Wisdoms

  • Embrace life, don't "just coast".
  • Beware procrastination.
  • Whatever you do, keep a sense of humour.

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