Life is short

N EWS about Burry Stander quickly circulated last night about the South African cyclist’s death. He was 25.

The two-time Olympian was killed in a collision with a taxi while training near his home in Shelly Beach on the south coast.

I’m not sure I would have known who Burry Stander was had I not worked in media for the years that I did. But that said, I’m surprised by the number of Facebook and Twitter posts mourning his death.

At 25, Burry touched a lot of lives. He grew up in KZN near where I live, and was well-loved and fondly known by many. Greg Minnaar called him “a legend”.

Burry got on with his life. At last year’s London Olympics, he finished fifth in an epic race. He was a respected and top-notch sportsman. I admire that he didn’t dawdle. He made the most of his life, and it’s a life to be celebrated.

There’s an obvious message here: life is short. Whether it’s 25 years or 90 years, there’s precious little time to sit around pondering what to do with the life given to us.

I know I have, from time to time, sat around waiting… for God only knows what, but I have. Things have changed drastically in recent years. For the life of me, I cannot remember what I did with my time before my kids were born. Seriously.

I can’t even remember what a typical day was like as a bachelor. I’m pretty sure it was a complete waste of time. It’s like marriage and fatherhood have refused total recall on the issue.

I have an uncle and aunt who live in Joburg. They’re fully awesome. On one occasion, I was staying with them while on a business trip, and after a leisurely breakfast, I remember my uncle, on his day off, putting his walking shoes on.

“Is this a typical Saturday?” I asked him.

“It’s a day on our terms,” he said. “We decide what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it.”

He paused. “Mostly we just have fun, whether we’re working or playing.”

Burry seemed to live that way. Rest in peace, Mr Stander. You lived well, and inspired us all.

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