I’d like to think that we all have a propensity to think about death. Not in a morbid, depressing kind of way, but in the kind of way where we realize that our time on this earth is short and should be lived mindfully. But then life happens. Just as we are about to ponder at the complex idea of how we should be living, instead of how we are actually living, traffic hits on your busy commute to your nine to five job, and your new distraction becomes the bumper-stickered Prius blocking off your next exit. This of course, is nothing new. We are always seeking for short cuts–soaking up every last detail from the “How To’s” section of the Cosmopolitan magazine, or taking advice from the person behind the computer screen bustling up “Life Hack” guides for ultimate success.
Then one day, you get screwed. Not by a steaming Australian underwear model (which of course would be the ultimate success), but by life. All this time being consumed by meaningless work; piles of manila folders, crumpled up sheets of taxes, research projects, homework, etc. suddenly becomes meaningless, because unbeknownst to you, during the climax of your life, you chose to purely orbit around your laborious tasks.
Now you are declining, and once again you are reminded of how short your life is. How you squandered your time camping in your “cubicle of a space,” working under your canary boss who coincidentally happens to have his douche-y, monosyllabic name embroidered on every last one of his ballpoint pens.
By now you’re probably thinking “so what’s your point?” or who is this chick trying to kill my Sunday morning vibe?”
In all honestly, when I began writing this article I did not have a clear direction. After all, I am guilty of everything I mentioned myself. I am the person honking like a madwoman at the bumpered stickered Prius. I am the person educating myself on “How to lose 10 pounds in One Week,” or “How to Make Your Crush Like You Back.” I am the person scrummaging up last-minute research papers before midnight deadlines. I am the person who religiously follows procedure.
But what comes after we finish checking off all our tasks on our To-Do List? What’s next, and was it really all worth our efforts?
This is the point at which many people (including myself) begin to regret. Regret from over-working our tired selves. Regret from breaking promises due to “work busy” schedules. Regret from performing less than average during performances or recitals due to unbalanced stress levels. We were so driven by the fact that maybe–just maybe if we worked hard enough, we would finally be rewarded by some ridiculous promotion. In some form or another, we all resemble an obedient dog eager for the treat of its lifetime. But when we finally get the promotion, or the “treat” if you will, we are merely disappointed at the fact that this reward that you had idolized has failed to surpass your personal satisfactory belt, or that the treat turned out to be gluten-free. Screw that!
The promotion that you once so badly wanted slowly sifts and disappears out of your priority list. I may or may not be completely wrong about this whole thing. After all, who am I to sit behind my own computer, peering into the lives of you busy people. But I do know one thing.
I know that everyone dies.
So I’ll leave you with this quote from Ernest Hemingway: “Don’t you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you’re not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already?”
Oh yeah, he’s already dead.