Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why Am I Still Here?

Why am I still here?

There are so many ways that I could just not exist in an instant.  I could have a massive aneurysm.  I could be shot randomly by some asshole trying to rob me.  I could be hit by the proverbial bus.
So why hasn’t any of that happened to me?

I found myself thinking about this as I was trying to fall asleep one night.  “There’s a possibility I won’t wake up tomorrow.”  We all just take it for granted that we’ll wake up the next day.

Wake up.  Go to work at a comfortable, yet unfulfilling job.  Come home to far too little time with your family.  Watch some TV.  Maybe get laid.  Wake up and repeat it.

Two days out of the week, you get to do “what you want to do.”  Except you don’t.  Saturday’s for errands.  Sunday is for enjoyment, but with the specter of the workweek looming over every precious moment.  You can never truly enjoy your time off.

After about thirty or forty years, if you save and deny and everything goes right, you finally get to sit back, relax, and retire.  But to what?  Golf?  Travelling places you can’t enjoy anymore?  What happened to that surfing trip you were going to take to Brazil?  Artificial hip?  Sorry, you’re fucked.  Settle into a nice retirement community in Florida? I guess, but not really for me. And that’s if you’re lucky. 

Fuck that.

Why am I lucky enough to still be here?

Once you recognize that you could be gone at any given minute, your search for what it all means ramps up.  No more putting things off. The lights could go off for good any minute.  There’s your fucking urgency.  Was yesterday the best day of your life? No?  What will you do better tomorrow to make your life the best you have to offer?  Go in to work, check out, wait for everything to improve?  Another raise?  Another promotion?  Not fucking good enough!  Get your shit together.  Today could be the last day of your life.  Make it worth something.  Act accordingly.

Do what has meaning for you.  Help people.  Influence others for the better.  Start that project that you’ll get around to “some day,” today.   One way to think about it is, if you had one day to clear out all of the bullshit, where you knew you’d die at the end of the day, what would you do?  It’s tough—I’d desperately try to balance writing shit down on paper with spending time with family and friends and eating one final fantastic meal. Obviously it varies from person to person, but that shouldn’t prevent you from thinking about what you’d do.

If you dread the day you are about to live, something needs to change.  No more putting things off.  No more “if I only finish this project; if I only save up $X more; if I only get up to that next promotion…”  Fuck that.  Those are weak excuses.  Try harder.  What really is preventing you from leading the life you want to live?  Other people’s opinions?  Fear of failure?  Fuck that.  Still just excuses.  There are very few absolute barriers in life.  If you want to be a power forward for the Bulls and you’re 5’ 6”, I hate to break it to you, but you’re probably not going to make it.  But you could still try to be a point guard, or do something else basketball-related--coach, be in the front office, that sort of thing.  You should have other dreams—other stuff you could do, too.  Focus is great until it limits what you’re capable of.  There are already plenty of other people trying to impose artificial limits on your life—don’t make things harder by imposing your own bullshit hurdles.

What would you do to make a substantial, meaningful change in your life?  What do you think your purpose on this rock is?  Even if you don’t know, can you appreciate how fragile this whole existence is?  Let me know in the comments.

Questions?  Comments?  Think I’ve totally fallen off the deep end?  E-mail me at  Follow me on twitter @djgelner.  Friend me on facebook here.

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