I woke up today as I’ve done every day for the last twenty-nine years. The seemingly simple act of being able to get out of bed in the morning is something I’ve taken for granted most of my life, partly because repetition causes comfort and familiarity, which minimizes fear and uncertainty. There was also a time when I once envied those who didn’t have to face the day and considered them to be the lucky ones…but I woke up today, and I am wide awake.
The older we get, the less certain tomorrow becomes, and life’s limitations gradually reveal themselves to us. Time, our biggest limitation, pressures us to live our best lives now, and with each day that passes, the fewer we have to do so. Death, and a fear of not seeing tomorrow, should ignite an urgency within us to accomplish our goals and experience all we can before it is too late.
Lately, I’ve been consumed by a fear of dying—not because I’m afraid of what lies beyond this physical world or the pain I may endure, but because I’m afraid of squandering what remaining time I might have. So much of it has been wasted thus far, and there’s so much I want to get done, but it has become my primary goal to make better use of my time by pursuing a dream or two and learning to appreciate the little things. If we add all the small things together and put forth a little effort, we may find they outweigh the heavier bad things.
It’s all too common for us to stop appreciating our lives and the things we have because we’ve simply become accustomed to them being there. The switch flips when those things are taken away, and we are faced with the reality of mortality—everything in the physical world is temporary and perishable. Unfortunately, many of us are unable to grasp that truth until it’s too late, leaving us with regret and a longing for more time.
The news, as an example, constantly reminds us of our mortality by sharing information about horrific events that occur around the world. There are also stories about those who had “everything” and how they lost it or, more commonly, stories about individuals who lost their lives at an age we’ve long surpassed. It would seem, as life carries on from day-to-day, the level of uncertainty increases and the things we have start to fall apart. Our friends and family gradually start leaving this earth, confirming that time is working against us.
The point of this article is not to suggest ways in which to make your lives better, but to serve as a reminder and a motivational tool to live your best life possible, while we have it. All of us have the ability to better ourselves and our circumstances, but if we cannot find a way, we can learn appreciation for the way things are now. Whether or not we know it, or decide to act upon it, we were all destined to do something great with our lives, no matter how small that great thing may be.
I, like you, am awake and destined for greatness. At the very least, we are awake for one more day to find some happiness before we kick the bucket. Let us challenge ourselves to capitalize on the gift we’ve been given and seize our opportunity to make this one existence mean something. Take nothing for granted—all things, including ourselves, can be gone by tomorrow.
Never forget that time cannot be controlled, but we can control how we utilize it.
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