“Life comes down to a simple choice: you’re either busy living or busy dying.” ~ Andy Dufresne, Shawshank Redemption
The next moment in our life is never guaranteed—so why do we act like it is?
Open a newspaper or turn on any news station and you’ll see several examples of lives ended in an instant, from car accidents, homicides, heart attacks, freak accidents, and so on.
Did any of these people wake up that morning thinking to themselves that they would soon breathe their last breath?
Hell no, they didn’t!
Even if they had a magic eight ball break the news to them, they probably weren’t holding the fragility of life at the forefront of their attention. Most people don’t—especially the immortal youth.
It’s so easy to forget how fragile life is.
Now think of the interactions that we have with others throughout the day: our partner, children, parents, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and even our beloved pets.
Why don’t we fully embrace every moment of time with them knowing that we may not get another?
Why don’t we say that we get to deal with our difficult child, or that the we get to care for an elderly parent, instead of saying that we have to?
When we are experiencing difficulty with others, there is a healthy way to release our harsh feelings immediately: imagine this is the last moment and the last words you’ll ever share with them. It’s almost impossible to continue to hold on to whatever grievance we may be gripping to in that moment.
This isn’t meant to bring us down into a depression or to fear death; quite the contrary, this way of thinking helps us learn to appreciate life in all its glory and sadness. It’s a reminder to suck every bit of marrow out of the bones of our existence.
It’s a reminder to shift our perspective from having to deal with life to getting to live life—to the fullest.
This is where we find our greatest strength in life. When we see that everything we are holding onto will not last, we stop f*cking around with petty grievances and clinging to objects that we don’t need.
We only get a brief time in this beautifully imperfect and messy life! So why spend another minute of it not appreciating all of it?
Thinking that we have to deal with life makes us go numb. Please don’t go down this road often.
Maybe you’re off to a job that doesn’t fulfill you, or in a relationship that has taken a confusing and painful turn. Maybe your health is failing, or you dread the weight of this crazy imperfect world that we live in. There’s the terrible political drama, and the cold, sharp blades of awareness regarding racism, human trafficking, sexism, white nationalism, and a whole lot of other ugly systems and “isms.”
But in the midst of all that, we get to find what’s beautiful, sweet, tender, and constant in our lives.
Nothing will last forever, but we never have to hate it because we don’t agree with it or we can’t keep it.
No, we get to feel sadness and joy at the same time. We get to follow our bliss while dealing with all the messiness, the mundane, the ugliness, and the craziness of life.
We all know this, but we forget it often.
So, here’s your reminder today:
Stay you for as long as you can, my love. Hold onto nothing dear in your mind alone—keep it in your heart too—knowing that it may not be there tomorrow.
And when the darkness creeps in, as it always will, remember that we get to experience this—we don’t have to endure it.