Death happens, and as I watched as the ambulance carry away the woman who had just suffered a head-on collision, I couldn’t help but reflect on the unpredictability of life. Imagining my own sudden death, I began to ponder the implications, including what would happen to this website. How would readers ever know? Would it seem as if I had just stopped posting? But perhaps most important that I reflected on: Was I able to convey my message? What things would I have wanted to shout out to the world that perhaps I hadn’t yet?
So today, I’m going to imagine as if this were my last post. What’s the big picture here? What do I truly hope that readers take from all of this?
Some of my more recent posts have focused heavily on big, philosophical questions, which I’ve brought up because I feel it’s important to examine unconventional perspectives and subsequently prompt critical thinking. The reason why I think critical thinking is so important, is because I believe that in doing so, we are essentially giving ourselves choices. Choices to think in other ways. Choices to see beyond the horizon. Choices to take alternative perspectives. Choices as to what we believe, and the ability to cite why–not simply “just because”–and in doing so, enable us to choose who we want to be.
And, isn’t the ability to be who we want to be–not just some version of who everyone else is–worth taking the time to consider?
That said, at the end of the day there comes a certain point in which it can become counterproductive to engage in too many debates that may or may not ever result in an answer. That’s not to imply that there isn’t value in the debate itself, but simply that sometimes, there’s more value in getting out there and taking life by the lapel–by fully engaging with the world around us–instead of philosophizing about it from behind a computer screen. In doing so, we naturally live our way into our own philosophies through experience, which is far more meaningful than anything I could ever say here.
And that’s what this is all about. LIVING. In the end, we’re only here for a limited time, and while we all seem to recognize this as a fact, most of us don’t seem to actually consider the implications–likely because it puts pressure on us. It puts pressure on us to act. And pressure stresses us out, so we avoid it. On the other hand, by ignoring the harsh truthfulness of this statement, it’s easier to justify being apathetic & unconcerned, and become reactive instead of proactive, passively accepting mediocre days that eventually turn into a mediocre years that can eventually turn into a mediocre lifetime. Because we figure that there’s always tomorrow, always next week, always next month, or next year. But there isn’t always going to be. And then we will have died, having just gone through the motions and doing everything everyone else wanted us to do, but nothing we wanted to do. Nothing that truly lights us up inside. We will have made choices based on majority rules, or because everyone else was doing it. And despite the urge to do something exceptional, we figure that it must not be realistic, or else, why wouldn’t everyone be doing it? So we settle. We accept. We concede. And sure, we survive. But is that all we have to hope for? To just survive?
There’s just too many experiences to be had, too many connections to be made, too many memories to be formed, too many beautiful sights to witness and too many moments that have the potential to truly make us come alive. Living through experiences is what makes us actually alive; living through established tradition, on the other hand, is what results in just a life. Live alive, not just a life.
That said, I’m going to lead the list with that. Here’s to messages that are important to me to communicate, and are the reason that I began this site in the first place:
- True living is more than just keeping your heart beating and a roof over your head. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that is “just how life goes.” There’s way more possibilities, and, yes, IT IS WORTH GOING AFTER. Be daring.
- Stop blowing yourself off; we get so upset when others blow off our ideas and desires, but we have no problem doing it to ourselves. Take your ideas, feelings, wants, wishes, yearns & urges seriously–those are your only true guide. Other people have no idea what’s best for you, so stop seeking their validation. Do what you need to do for you. Be confident.
- Stop doing everything by the book. It’s time to start drafting your own revised edition. Rules don’t always exist in the name of the greatest good; more often than not, they exist because someone wants to establish or maintain power. And that’s just not a good enough reason. Be inquisitive.
- Life is a series of choices. You choose every single direction that your life takes. Use it to your advantage. Be deliberate.
- There will be people out there who won’t support what you’re doing. Who cares. Trust yourself more, trust others less. That includes significant others. Be brave.
- Figure out what you value, and make the necessary changes to align your life with those values. If you value time more than money, stop working 60 hour work weeks. The only way you’ll get more time, is by doing less. It’s simple math. Be introspective.
- Speaking of money, IT ISN’T AS IMPORTANT AS WE’RE TAUGHT TO THINK IT IS. Money comes, and money goes, and it provides little value itself until you actually exchange it for something that is valuable to you. So, ask yourself that question. What do you value? That’s where the majority of the money you spend should be going. Be prudent.
- Having good intentions doesn’t yield results. Get off your rear and make it happen. Be zealous.
- Life isn’t meant to be taken so seriously. In the scheme of things, if you’re going to be late to work, it doesn’t really matter. If you don’t get an A, it doesn’t really matter. If you’re proven wrong about something, it doesn’t really matter. If your house isn’t as nice as your best friend’s, it doesn’t really matter. Relax, and enjoy the ride. Think big picture, not details. Will this matter in 100 years? Be panoramic.
- The world is not judging you as much as you think they are. Most people are too wrapped up in themselves to even notice what you’re doing. Drop the pride and have a little fun. Be lighthearted.
- Perhaps one of the greatest goals we can seek for ourselves is exhilaration. Are you exhilarated by your life? Be stimulated.
- When making decisions, always ask what’s more important. Thinking about canceling on an invitation to a friend’s baby shower or birthday party because you have too much work to do? Get your head out of your ass. Your friend is more important; work can always be done later. Nothing is that urgent. Relationships, however, are your foundation and you’d be lost without other human connections, so value them. And show it. Be thoughtful.
- You don’t just need to love yourself; you need to respect yourself. You’ll garner that respect by accomplishing things you’ve set out to do. Be relentless.
- Being content with your life and being proud to call it yours are two different things. Strive for the latter. Be courageous.
- Last but not least, wine should be drank with meals. Preferably Argentinian Malbec. It’s freaking delicious. Be delighted.
If you’re looking for more advice on how to better implement some of these philosophies, get started with these resources that first inspired me to start living more unconventionally–and not just thinking about it.
Fortunately, I am not dead, and this is not my last post. Unfortunately, I’m out of Malbec. With that, I’m off to go put #8 into practice.
Have you got any to add to the list? Let’s pool our collective knowledge and share some wisdom–humorous additions welcome.