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Photo of the Cathedral of Havana
(c) Cathy Griffin by permission.

How to lose and how to win in life.

By Paul V. Montesino, PhD.

          Tommy and Franky, both brothers, were fraternal twins and very different not only physically, but also in their minds and life purposes. They started kindergarten when they were five years old, but that was the only time in their lives when they were together.

          Tommy could not wait to finish that first year to move on to bigger things. He learned a lot and his grades at that early age were excellent. Franky, on the other hand, did not seem to have enough of it and was so detached to measurable activities, that he had to repeat kindergarten and all its fun activities. I suppose most people would not blink an eye if they flunk the first semester of Human Anatomy in a school of medicine, but kindergarten? Franky did not lose any sleep.

          The same happened as both boys grew up. Tommy was always first in everything he attempted, not spending too much time in everything he did and always moving to his next goal, his parents obviously proud of his achievements. He was the metaphor for growth and change. Of course, the parents loved Franky as much, but their heads moved negatively reflecting their concern for a child who seemed to like enjoying the status quo and unconcerned for the morrow.

           Adulthood caught them playing by the same rules. Tommy, now Tom, married and had children, but he was uneasy and unhappy about sameness and married two more times after divorcing his wives looking for a perfect partner. Franky, now Frank, took a bit longer to marry, had children as well and remained marry until his wife died of cancer in mid age.

          Tom’s career was one promotion after the other, one job after another. Frank’s chair seat developed the shape of his body after so many years in the same position. He had the same address, the same telephone number and the same email handle for as long as he had used those technologies. Tom could not remember either after so many changes.

          Old age caught both brothers eventually as it does to all of us. As they wound down to the inactive years of their lives, Tom realized that his life had been fast, his moments of enjoyment numerous but shallow, his overall happiness lacking. He had not spent enough time at each stop of the path to realize how good they were or how much he was enjoying those moments. Frank, on the other hand, remembered the details of those moments well and he could savor today every single one of them.

Both brothers had lived different lives and had reaped what they had sown. When Tom died, two months before his twin brother, his expression was serious, sad, his brother’s a smile of satisfaction.

We can be a Tom or a Frank, what is your name? who are you?

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