A couple nights ago, I was watching one of my favorite TV series called Community. The show is silly, hysterical and always makes me laugh. Every now and then, the show also tosses in some “life lessons” to give it some heart. One particular quote that made me shiver was…
Death is what makes life worth living.
It’s true. Death gives life a deadline. It gives us a rough timeframe to accomplish whatever it is we want to accomplish. Death makes us want to do things. It makes us want to enjoy life because we know it will end eventually. If you are given a pill that makes you immortal, what would be the point of doing anything anymore?
Who cares if you stay in the house for a full year playing video games. Who cares if you work a job you hate for the next 5 years instead of focusing on improving your life. Who cares if you find someone who makes you happy or go on that dream trip you always wanted to go on.
You have forever to do it! Your never going to die or age so you can put if off for eternity and continue to be lazy.
But that’s not how it works. And that’s a good thing.
We’re here for a fixed amount of time. Some of us will reach the age of 100. Others might reach 50 and some may not make it to adulthood. Some are living but seem as though they are already dead.
That’s the other part of the equation. We don’t know how long we have. Our health is one of those things that helps keep us kickin’ but there are a ton of external forces that can take us down. And although this may sound scary at first, it’s really what makes life so valuable. Knowing that our “clock” is ticking, we need to act. We need to cherish the time we have.
We need to create our happiness now, not later.
We need to experience all that life has to offer. Excitement. Adventure. Love. Accomplishment. Taste. Smell. Vision. Nature.
We need to experience it now and not hold off for some unforeseen time in the future.
Rather than be afraid of death or simply ignore it, why not use it as motivation to get the most out of our short time on Earth.
Pick a number.
The average life expectancy in Canada is around 80. It varies from male to female and from country to country. It also changes with technology and health improvements.
But to keep things simple, we can say that exceeding 80 years of age is a really good benchmark.
So lets pick the number 80.
Even if we are healthy and escape all the external forces, we can expect to be gone or diminished in some way by the time we reach 80. With that in mind, what do you want to look back on when you blow out 80 bright-colored candles on your birthday cake? What makes you smile and realize you really lived a purposeful life and the life that YOU really wanted?
- Becoming great in your career and rising to the top of a big company? Maybe.
- Finding someone who makes you happy and having beautiful children with them? Maybe.
- Using your own creativity and skills to create something? Maybe.
- Starting a business that helps others in some way…
- Traveling across the world to experience all the beauties of earth…
- Learning and living with different cultures all over the planet…
- Lending a hand, knowledge, or money to others who are less fortunate than yourself?
- All the above? Some of the above? None of the above?
Whatever it is, you need to figure it out NOW! Start developing an action plan that brings you closer to your goals and to your dreams.
Sure, these dreams and goals will change, as will your plans. Some things will stay, others will be replaced. That’s okay. That’s life and it means your changing, which also means your growing and really living.
The worst thing you can do is simply put them off and live in default mode for another day, another month, or another year.
Stop following the path that others have created and create your own. You may feel alone at first but trust me, there are tons of people ready to help and support you. To find ideas, you could always Steal Like an Artist. Find what inspires you, take from it what you need, and mould it into something unique for yourself.
A Friend of mine, Mike Hrostoski, put it this way:
Sometimes people tell me I’m overly optimistic. Sometimes people tell me I should be more realistic. Sometimes people tell me I’m a Pollyanna. Sometimes people tell me that I’m forgetting that the glass is also half empty. Really? Here’s some life experiences I likely have waiting ahead:
- My dad’s going to die.
- At some point, my brother or I will become an only child again.
- I’ll become an old man. I’ll be flabby, wrinkly, slow-moving, and my dick won’t work.
- The woman who I choose to spend my life with will either leave me or die. Or I’ll leave her a widow.
- My kids will get sick. My kids will get hurt. And I’ll feel totally helpless.
- I’ll get hurt dozens of times. I’ll cry hundreds of times. I’ll fail thousands of times. And then I’ll die.
Trust me, I have plenty of suffering ahead. I’m not interesting in looking for, focusing on, or creating any more.
Rainbows and unicorns for life baby.
Another guy you may have heard of put it this way:
“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 am 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. 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.“ – Steve Jobs
You really have nothing to lose. The clock is ticking.
It’s time to LIVE.