You Only Get One Shot At Life, So Make The Most Of It
Live your life today, not tomorrow
Death is something that I think about now and again. During a walk the other evening, my thoughts turned to death and what it means to me now.
I’m 30 at the end of the year. That’s not old by most people’s measure, but it feels old to me. I feel like I have been alive for a long time when the reality is my existence is but a drop in the ocean in the grand scheme of the universe.
I enjoy my life. I enjoy writing, meeting my friends, spending quality with my family and being able to exercise and stay healthy. As I made my way along my walking route, it dawned on me that things will not always be like this.
One day, I will wake up and I won’t be to exercise as much as I used to, I may not be able to meet up with old friends. One day, there will come a point where I’m a distant memory. A relic lost to the past.
This is the reality of life unfortunately, the things we love get taken away from us at some point.
It’s strange to feel sorrow for events that may or may not come to pass, but it was an eye-opening thought process. Instead, of wallowing in pity for my future self, I should concentrate on enjoying myself in the present.
Life is a one time offer. You have to use it or lose it. The future is an uncertain place, it’s our actions in the present that determine our future. I could spend my days worrying about what it may hold, but then I would not be living.
When I thought some more I realised how blessed I am to be alive at all. Many children do not live past their first birthday. Life is a genetic lottery, I’m lucky to have been born in a Western country, with fantastic opportunities.
Not everyone is that lucky. It’s a crime to waste these gifts decrying what my life might be like in the future. The only way I can determine that is by living with intention and purpose today.
One Time Offer
We have such a short time on this Earth. If we’re lucky, we’ll make it to 80 or beyond. That may seem like a long time, but it isn’t. Our lifetimes are insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
The trick that life plays on us is to make us think that we will live forever, while we forget that life is fragile and short.
It’s easy to lose sight of this when you are caught up in everyday life. Most of us are too busy to contemplate our mortality. Indeed, we only to tend to contemplate it when we face danger.
We don’t know what is around the corner, we don’t know what tomorrow holds. We are terrible at predicting the future. We use past events as an indicator of the future.
One of the few constants in life is that there will be change. Companies come and go, countries fall and rise and people live and then they die. This is the way of things.
The Roman philosopher Seneca said it best when he wrote the following:
“One thing I know: all the works of mortal man lie under sentence of mortality; we live among things that are destined to perish.”
It is with this knowledge that we must proceed in life. Everything that we know, everything we come to love will one day crumble away. It may seem like a morbid sentiment, but it is an enriching one.
Life is to be lived, to be enjoyed. When we are racked with anxiety and worry, we are not living. We are hostages to our mind, our thoughts and our fears. This is no way to live.
We are on this planet for a short time, to spend it worrying about our existence and what may come of it, is to neglect how precious this time is.
It may feel like we have all the time in the world, but we have no way of knowing. Instead of worrying about this eventuality, we should turn it on its head and use it to live our lives to the fullest.
Take that vacation you’ve dreamt of, talk to that boy/girl you like, do the things that scare you. It’s the things we do that we regret when the end is near, it’s those that we didn’t do.
Even if they don’t work out for the best, at least you tried, at least you took it upon yourself to live.
One life is all we get, but if you do it right, one life is all you need.