We Will Die

Articles

I was on a shuttle to the airport and there were two old ladies talking about being old ladies.

“Oh, can you believe how fast it went by?”

“Goodness, no. Like the snap of a finger!”

It made me think about death and the fact that I’ll die. We all will. I don’t think that’s a tragedy but it’s worth having the conscious knowledge in our minds.

It makes me think of a conversation I had with an old friend. He started at a university last month. After our conversation, I knew he didn’t know precisely why he was there.

I texted him about it and he said, “I’m not paying to be here so it’s not really a huge investment.”

I responded, “Time is more of an investment than any amount of money.”

“I’ve got plenty.”

I’ve got plenty. Those three words are responsible for an incalculable amount of suffering, regret, and longing.

The idea behind them is inaccurate. At this age, we have the freedom to do anything we want almost without consequence. It’s much easier to try random and potentially catastrophic ideas when you’re 18 and single, rather than 30 with a house and children.

It’s easy to cover this with worry for the future, but in reality, it’s true. You can try anything when you’re young and if it doesn’t work, you can try something else. You’ll be happier, more interesting, and without regret, but this opportunity only lasts so long.

To illustrate the idea that we really don’t have plenty of time, think about fractions.

If you’re about 20 and your heart stops at 80, you’ve used a quarter of your life.

One year is about 2 percent of the rest of your life.

Four years is 7 percent.

If you think of it like this, are you consciously willing to spend two percent of your life at a job you hate, with a person you don’t love, or doing something that doesn’t make you come alive?

Are you willing to spend 7 percent of your life preparing to enter the real world, rather than 7 percent experimenting and learning and trying all kinds of exciting things in the real world?

Are you willing to burn any percentage of your life in a way that doesn’t get you closer to your goals, however abstract they may be?

I know I’m not.

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