Everyone has heard the familiar adage “life speeds by,” yet I never considered that reality would be so harsh. Time flies, and life goes on: the reality of that truth can be quite upsetting. You make excuses to do what really matters to you today: “no time,” you always say. Yes, you are right: there’s no time. We start dying the day we are born. One question: If not now, when? Let me tell you how it all pans out.
When you are young, you are often euphoric about the little stuff in life. No matter what your situation is, you are intoxicated with the belief that you have the power to make it what you think it should be for you. You draw a plan and make bullet points of what you want to do with your life. But now you’ve traded your youth in for some experience. Your youth has been consumed with the desire to earn a living, a beautiful spouse to share your days with and a few children to preserve your name. You are focused on the journey, the pursuit enthralling you, tussling with it if your world isn’t very kind or enjoying it if your family is wealthy. You are filled with vim and vigor, satiating you with a sense of invulnerability, with the feeling that life is endless, that things will work out somehow, someday, regardless of your present actions and the consequences they might yield. It is not your fault, however. You will proceed, inevitably, toward old age. That’s even if you are lucky.
When your days of youth are over and you start noticing the strain you feel just walking down a couple of stairs, and the stress that only a night’s sleep would fix is now becoming a concern that even the durable genes of your ancestors cannot resist, only then do you care about the seconds in a day, of their diminishing supply; this inadequacy distresses you. Imperceptibly, you stop accounting for your days, cognizant of the fact that you have less time in front of than behind you.
Wait, have you done the things you’ve always wanted to do with your life? All those goals you set when you were younger and the bucket list you created when you were in high school–have you accomplished any of them yet?
At present, you’ve become entangled in some Byzantine financial web. Bills, taxes, loans: all these numbers have changed everything that made you. You now have responsibilities that are consuming both your priceless time and your dreams. And when you finally become a sandwich generation, managing your awareness of mortality with agitation, only then do you start prioritizing what you think is best in life. Too little, too late, don’t you think?
Life is finite; there’s an ending to it all, not only for us, but also for the people we love. Some of us may exceed 36,500 days (100 years), some of us come short of it, but none of us know which is ours. So, for me, the saddest truth of life is the fact that although we begin with light so bright in us when we are young, we end up wandering through the crevices in the dark. There’s no forever to get everything “right,” and we don’t always get the opportunity to do it over. We can’t go back in time to do the things we wish we should have done. We always have regrets. Sometimes they come from waiting too long, waiting too long for that mysterious “something” that may come along; however, we fall short of living the life we have now. It’s just like James J. Lachard observed: “Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present, the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die and then dies having never really lived.”
So there you have it. The saddest truth of life is not the reality that life ends, but rather the frequent many deaths that we succumb ourselves to, on and on, every day, not doing what we really want to do. It is only a truth if you let it be. Starting from today, show the passions that make you, express those emotions, drive to Alaska, get married in Vegas, learn to fish and explore the world. Whatever thing you’ve always wanted to do, do it while you can, because when you say you’re wasting time, you’re wasting life–because time will continue to exist even after you are gone.
This moment is your life. And that is a choice too.