“Life is too short” starts to make a lot more sense when you think of life as a small blip between two dark, unknown voids.
Once you embrace the fact that you don’t know anything about what happens before your birth (or after your death) life does seem much shorter.
Instead, if you believe in one of the many theories of life after death, or if you don’t think much about death at all, you do not feel life to be short for obvious reasons.
As a kid I thought the saying “Live every day as if it’s your last” was inane.
I now truly understand what it stands for. It doesn’t mean living out of FOMO. It means to just live. To be completely immersed in the moment, instead of planning for your long term future. To realize there are no guarantees, and all assurances are man-made constructs.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like, “If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me… and since then, for the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today.”
And whenever the answer has been, “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.
Because almost everything: all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure… these things just fall away in the face of death… leaving only what is truly important.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked; there is no reason not to follow your heart.
― Steve Jobs
Some days will be uneventful, and sometimes life might just be such that you don’t really care about getting out of your comfort zone, because your comfort zone has already grown a lot. So it’s fine to not make drastic life changes in those situations.
However, if you sense there is something wrong or deeply missing in your life, and day after day you feel that something is off, you need to take some very big steps to change your life. It is going to be really scary, but you HAVE to do it.
It is so very important to truly start living life instead of contemplating it. Of course, not everyone can do it. It’s very hard to do things that no one in their “right” mind would consider doing.
However, once you start thinking of life as something that emerged out of pure chance, you really start appreciating every moment and gain a lot of confidence to do whatever you want.
One argument I have heard against death-oriented living is that it’s not sustainable. For example, the typical counterargument is, “If it were my last day I would just blow out all my money. But then what would I do after that?”
Don’t actually live as if you’re about to die. Yes, you have to pay rent, and yes there are consequences to your actions. But there are things you can think of that don’t include drastic negative consequences.
When was the last time you did something for the first time?
When was the last time you did something you were scared of?
None of what I’ve written does you any good unless you have such an enlightenment of your own. I have written this post hoping to summarize some form of “enlightenment” that I’ve had recently. However, you have to experience it on your own, words cannot transfer non-verbal knowledge.
And the best way to do that is to go out there and do as much shit as possible. Just like the Large Hadron Collider smashes protons together, you need to smash things up in your life and learn from the results of those experiments to truly get to the core of living.
Until next time.