Thursday, October 16, 2014

YOLO- So the Kids Say These Days

Here is something that every single person should really spend a little bit of time thinking about every single day- some day you will die.

That's right.


Let that sink in for a moment.

This isn't something that's up for debate, and I'm not really concerned with anything that may or may not happen after that fact. As people on this planet we only get to play for a certain period of time, and then we've got to pack it up and cash in our chips. Thanks for playing, hope you had a good time.

Modern people in well organized countries (developed countries if you will- but I hate that term)get to push death into a bit of a corner through most of their lives. It's something that happens, but it comes when your old and anything less we consider being cheated. We tend to approach life in a manner that treats it as something that will go on forever, like we have all the time in the world and we will never die. By ignoring the fact that we will die, we mislive because we act as if we won't. We don't give things affected by this fact their true worth. Simply put, time and each opportunity to do the things you really love in life are the most precious commodities in the possession of any of us and they are very much limited. If you don't really understand that you're going to die then you don't truly appreciate this.

Some would think that dwelling on your own death (or expanding it a bit- the time and opportunity you have with other people you love as they are all mortal as well) a morbid act, and possibly it is but only if you dwell on it as a negative thought. We can turn this around and let the undeniable fact of mortality instruct us in how to live as well. It turns out that it has a lot of lessons for us.

First we are reminded not to take a single day for granted. You've got the opportunity to do something amazing any given day. Maybe you think amazing is too high a bar for your average day- but you can settle for at least interesting right? The point is that even if you make it to a ripe old age, there's a good chance a good chunk of your life has already been lived, and you aren't getting any younger. The prime years of your life are slipping out from underneath you, what are you going to do with them? What things have you done, what are you doing and what things do you want to do? Understanding that you've got a limited amount of time to work with lets you focus on using time as the precious resource that it is and gives more value to making sure that we fit in the things that we claim matter to us.

We aren't the only things that are going to die either. The one thing about every living thing in the world is that at some point it won't be alive. That means your interaction with any of it is limited. Stop taking that interaction for granted. Say the things that need to be said, and do the things that need to be done with people, because you may not get the opportunity if you keep putting it off. Or I suppose if you really dislike someone take comfort in knowing that they end up as dead as the rest of us and can only be the horrible person they are for so long.

It also reminds us that no matter how good or bad things go, we do all end up in the same spot. Play hard, take things in your life seriously, but at the end of the day you can only take it so seriously. After all none of us are getting out of here alive. Like a game of football (American or British!) the ball can be the most important thing in the world and all effort can be focused on it for purposes of the game at hand, but when the game is over, it's just a ball and nobody cares about it. Many of the stuff in our lives, be it work, money, competitions, or whatever you're in to should be seen like a ball in a game. When its time to play, feel free to play hard, but remember at the end of the day it is what it is, and you aren't taking it with you. Our mortality should help keep in perspective what is actually important. We often lose sight of the experience mistaking the objects themselves as what is really important.

I bring this all up because some people have asked me why I'm going to London, when I've got a rather decent life here and could live quite comfortably given some time. But being comfortable isn't high on my list of important things to accomplish in life. I'm already 37, I don't have forever. To me life is too short to spend it all in one place when there is an entire planet to see and experience. It's also about recognizing a good thing when you see it, and having been in plenty of relationships over the years I recognize how good the one I currently have really is. It would seem to me incredibly foolish to let it wither away because of something as simple as an ocean being in between us. When you lay dying you won't wonder what would have been if you played it safe. You know exactly what you probably would have got. You would have probably been comfortable, but at least in my case I'd be unsatisfied. You'd wonder "what if". Or at least I know I would. Lucky for me it doesn't look like I'll have to because I know that some day I'm going to die, and I'd rather take a few chances and go after the things I love than sit by and watch life pass me by.

This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.

Remember to act accordingly.

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