Fight and you may die. Run and you’ll live. At least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom?
— William Wallace’s speech to the troops in the movie Braveheart
Happiness is a Journey, Not a Destination. Many a wise man said it before me and I have foremost respect for everyone who gets to understand the real meaning of it. If you put focus on a retirement, you’re putting focus on a destination, robbing yourself off the opportunity to savor the journey, aka every simple moment of every single minute. But don’t get overly content when you grow enough to stop focusing on a destination. At the end of the day, it’s not the pictures you took that matter, no matter how sparkling they are. At the end of the day, it’s also not that amazing social networking update that you had posted that matters, even if it results in hundreds of replies praising you for amazing thoughts.
I know a man who spent more than half a year in a coma after a blood clot blocked the flow of oxygenated blood into his brain. Young man, a biker, he was strong and athletic. A cool guy, good friend of mine from back home. Doctors had to remove a quarter of his skull to operate on his brain. He’s out of coma now but doesn’t know how to talk, doesn’t know how to walk – he’s learning things you would not expect a man in his 30’s to have to learn. Doctors say he’s lucky to be alive and to still be more or less himself after such a long time in a coma. Up until recently, not many believed he’d ever talk again.
Having known him well, it was hard for me to comprehend the fact that 30 years was all he got to say what he needed to say. He was magically back with us, but he couldn’t talk. Chances are, you who are reading this, like me, still have your means to voice your thoughts. Whether verbally, or through written accounts on the internet, your voice can be heard. How are you using it? What are you doing with the time you have? We all get a limited supply of time and when that bit of it that’s allocated to you runs out, what will your last thoughts be?
Will you think of all the pictures you took? Will you think of all the great articles you posted on the internet? Will you think of how that update you made got on the first page of your favorite social bookmarking site? Will you think of…?
Much of what is of utmost importance to you now, would quickly lose its spark if it was you laying in bed with tube sticking out of your mouth helping you to breathe. There would be people around you, talking to you, but none of them would know whether anything that’s being said is also heard.
You can take time to get to know the person on the inside, or you can continue to compete for attention on the outside. You can live a life true to yourself, or you can live the way others expect you to. You can spend so much time at work you’ll miss your children’s youth, or you can open yourself up to new opportunities and create unknown space in your life. You can realize that happiness is a choice, or you can remain stuck in the comfort of familiarity.
I now understand that we are constantly made to see all the things we are not. We literally piss away our precious life minutes by polishing our image in the eyes of others not realizing that we get none of them back. When you’re lying on your deathbed, will you be glad you spent life’s precious minutes doing what you did today?