Scallywag

The heart has reasons which reason cannot understand.

~ Blaise Pascal ~

Life The Ultimate Limited Offer

March 26th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 3 mins, 36 secs

Life is less of a race and more about consideration.

Have you ever thought how strange it is that we live life here like it’s forever? Whether you believe in an afterlife or not, most would agree that this experience of living has a finite time implied, though the way life looks you’d barely know it.

I say that, but I know that’s not so in a great number of countries where death is very much part of life’s daily prospects. While that might be disturbing, in a way the raw honesty reminds you what life is.

However, all too often life is cheap in these self same places. Death may be matter of fact, but it needn’t mean life should be easily squandered.

I’ve only seen a couple of dead bodies. One was my Dad before he was laid out. He still had tubes stuck in him and his mouth was all twisted (no doubt the least of their worries as the medical staff did their best to save him on the operating table). Seeing what was left of him has reminded me about the mystery of living ever since.

You can take it for granted, use it recklessly, or, treat it as something infinitely precious. But whichever way we play it, we all have one life to live and we can write the script.

With so much effort put into pretending life will always go on as it is, you have to deliberately stick your head above the crowd sometimes to see otherwise. Life has a finite fuse and, despite attempts to stretch it, a lifetime is both long and short enough to do something worthwhile yet still find ourselves running out of time.

It’s an illusion to think today is tomorrow, though the way some people live they seem genuinely shocked to see anything change. But life implies just that: change.

People rush to get rich (or at least become super busy, consumed with that wish). While, some follow other themes and wed themselves to them. Sport, career, travel, and study; you name it, people become consumed. Which is fine of course. So long as they realize that life has a host of other realties.

One moment, Ted, a highflying businessman was on top of his game and reaching for the next rung in the upper echelons of corporate banking. He did everything right according to the best knowhow in the industry and his hard work seemed to be paying off. But, suddenly, his life ended abruptly. Too soon, all of  Ted’s striving and straining ended, leaving not much more than some money, possessions, and a mixed bag of memories.

Is that as good as it gets? Or, is there a better way to live? Philosophers like discussing this kind of thing so it’s obviously complicated. But I believe there are a few things we can all do to live life well. Just asking yourself the question, “How can I live a satisfying life?” is an excellent beginning.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with Ted’s efforts. But if he did it at the expense of his long suffering wife and  kids that rarely got to see him, his successes would take on a different complexion.

Had Ted seen achievement as including the challenges of family life and the value of a loving marriage, his commitment to his career would have been balanced by something more complete.

You can play this game from all sorts of angles, can’t you? If you’re a sporting sort you could ask how much Ted put into fitness activity. Whilst volunteers might emphasize his potential to live well would have been enhanced by more giving, and so on.

You and I get to select how we live our own life, even if it’s through choosing not to make any other choices at all. It’s up to you to pick what your life counts for, both in your time alive and in your passing. Rather than a race, it’s more like a decision based on all of your insights and the clarity of your values. So it’s not so much what happens to you but how you choose to respond to it that decides what you are doing and you’re going to do.

If you ask me, that’s exciting, because whatever you feel is holding you back is not the deciding factor. The power is in you, and what you choose to do.

You might, if you like, do what most people choose and bury your head in the sand until such time life catches up with you. But I suspect you want more from living than pretending not to know, and hiding from your potential.

As daunting as it might be, you have the ability to make your own life – however long or short it will be – a statement of love, kindness, and dignity. Pick whatever tickles your fancy and throw yourself toward it all with gusto. But remember the significance of your relationships, because it is through them that all of your greatest successes will bloom (no matter how long you’ve got).

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